Saturday saw three local rally crews in Ludlow (Shrops) to compete on the annual Woodpecker Rally, penultimate round of the 2016 BTRDA Championship.
Bare’s Phil Burton/Mal Capstick were in their familiar Millington-engined, Westgate tyres, Loss Insurance, 1Media – upported Escort Mk2, seeded at 26, having missed a couple of the earlier BTRDA championship rounds.
Seeded at 14 were Ian Joel (Carnforth) and regular co-driver Graeme Wood, the duo in their newly rebuilt Escort Cosworth, supported by MRF Tyres/710 Lubricants.
At number seven were Arnside Motorsports Wayne Sisson/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Evo X).
As cars were leaving the Ludlow Racecourse the monsoon began and the six special stages became mud baths, making traction and vision very poor for many crews (Burton particularly suffered with a misted ‘screen on SS2, losing 30seconds) – tyre choice being paramount to extract any grip on the treacherous surfaces.
Having taken the title last year, Burton/Capstick are unable to defend their championship due to a change in the rules.
However, they are determined to show their mettle and provide their many sponsors with value for money.
Having competed on stages such as the high-speed Radnor forest (speeds of 125mph not uncommon), the event finished with a stage in Haye Park (outskirts of Ludlow).
The final round of the Championship – the Trackrod Rally, takes place later this month in the forests of Yorkshire.