Championship Cliffhanger as Crews Head for Kielder

Perry Gardener and Jack Bowen

Motorsport Mania will grip Tynedale next weekend as more than 100 rally crews descend on Hexham ready to contest the Kielder Forest Rally, the 4th round of the MRF Tyres/ BTRDA Rally Series and the Motorsport UK English Rally Championship and the series arrives in town with the championship nicely poised with a mere 4 points covering the 4 top placed crews so there will be everything to play for and it will be “Flat Out” from the word go as the crews battle for supremacy over the tight and demanding stages in the daunting Kielder Forest.

The series is currently led by Ludlow based Perry Gardener/ Jack Bowen ( Ford Fiesta ) but they have a slim lead of only two points over Mathew Hirst/ Declan Dear ( Ford Fiesta ) who lost the championship lead on the previous round when mechanical issues dropped them down the results, they share second spot with Clitheroe based RussThompson/ Steve Link ( Mitsubishi Lancer ) who are again just  2 points ahead of the similar car f Richard Hill/Pat Cooper.

Also in the mix and no doubt eager to boost their championship points total will be the winning crew from the previous round, Elliot Payne/ Patrick Walsh and the winners of the opening round, Bishop Auckland crew Stephen Petch/ Michael Wilkinson ( Ford Fiesta ). Also on the entry list are the very quick Welsh crew, Tom Llewellin/ Ross Whittock who led round 3 until they slid off into a soggy Scottish ditch and current BTRDA Silver Star leaders, Rob Wright/ Mark Fisher from West Cumbria so with so much talent on the entry list the championship leaders will be looking nervously over their shoulders as the day unfolds over Kielder’s fast forest tracks.

The Kielder Forest Rally will be based at Hexham Auction Mart which will host the rally headquarters and service area with the stockyards housing a vast area of fast rally cars rather than the usual cattle and sheep. From there the cars will head for a ceremonial start, situated in front of the historic Jacobean façade of Chipchase Castle before moving on up the North Tyne to Kielder Forest where the action will commence with the opening three stages of the rally.

After the first loop of three stages, the crews will return to the service area at Hexham Auction Mart where there will unquestionably be much feverish activity to repair the ravages that a blast through the Kielder Forest inflicts, the surviving crews will then do a repeat run over the Kielder stages before returning to Hexham for the traditional champagne spraying and prize presentations to the successful crews.