May 21, 2024

Get Jerky Rally North Wales gears up for action this weekend

The Get Jerky Rally North Wales returns to Welshpool for the second successive year on Saturday [March 16] as some of the most closely fought rally series in the country head for the nearby forests to do battle.

Sponsored once again by the Welshpool-based Get Jerky brand of beef jerky snacks, the popular gravel stage rally, organised by Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club has attracted an impressive entry of over 100 cars.

They will tackle world-famous rally stages, such as Dyfnant and Gartheiniog, in an action-packed day of motorsport in the region.

A revised format for 2024 sees the Welshpool Livestock Market become the hub of the rally all weekend, with pre-event formalities taking place at the facility on Friday. The location will also host the ceremonial start at 07:30am on Saturday, mid-event service and then the finish celebrations at around 4:45pm.

The stages themselves will be alive with top-drawer talent from the Fuchs Lubricants Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship and Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship.

They will be joined by contenders in the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters and the MINI Rally Challenge.

Top seed in the Historic field is Riponian Rally winner George Lepley and co-driver Dale Bowen in their impressive Mitsubishi Galant VR4. The stunning machine was a fan-favourite in Yorkshire last month and the pairing will undoubtedly be looking to add a second win to their tally this season.

Joe Price and Chris Brooks lead the Ford Escort MKII march in their regular Rally North Wales outing. They won the Historic category last year, but only by three seconds in a final stage thriller. They will be chased down by British Historic Rally Championship [BHRC] leaders Matt Robinson and Sam Collis.

Nick Elliott and Dave Price resume their BHRC title chase in their stunning FIAT 131 Abarth and have valuable experience of the stages, thanks to being former winners of the event.

Seb Perez and Gary McElhinney bring the noise with their raucous Porsche 911, whilst 2021 BHRC champions Ben Friend and Cliffy Simmons return to the series after a year away in their Escort MKII.

Whetting the appetite of rally fans across the UK, an exciting name appears inside the top 10 this year in the form of 1996 British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans. The Dolgellau driver will pilot a Ford Escort MKII and hasn’t been on gravel since 2014 but is always an entertaining watch.

Having supported son Elfyn in the World Rally Championship for many years, appearances are rare, but the popular driver makes his first appearance in the event since 2010. Dale Furniss will co-drive.

If that wasn’t enough, another former British champion turned film stunt driver, Mark Higgins, will make a rare appearance on the stages in a Triumph TR7 V8.

The three-time title holder is also the man behind many of the James Bond car scenes but swaps the tux for a Triumph for the weekend, with Carl Williamson on the notes.

Back-to-back Rally North Wales winners Matt Hirst and Declan Dear head up the main field and four-wheel drive charge in their Fiesta R5. Trevor Gamble and Phil Kenny are the second seeds in their Rally2 version of the Fiesta whilst Dan O’Brien makes a rare outing in the UK in his Fiesta World Rally Car alongside Mark Glennerster.

A wealth of top-flight crews will be fighting for honours in the forests and fans will be able to catch up with the cars and crews at a variety of venues during the day.

Welshpool Livestock Market hosts the start, with crews leaving from 7:30am on Saturday. Access is free and offers a chance to view the cars up close.

Two excellent viewing areas are available in the forests with Big Ray offering the first opportunity from 9:15am. The stage is accessed from the A487 at Esgairgeliog and is run twice during the day, the second pass at 2:20pm.

Dyfnant is also run twice, with the first passing at 10:50am and the second, and final stage of the rally, at 4pm. The test can be found off the B4395, just north of Llangadfan on the A458.

Access to each Spectator Stage costs £15 per car, per location and 50 per cent of the car park proceeds are donated to local charitable organisations.

Crews will return to Welshpool Livestock Market at 4:45pm for the finish celebrations and once again access is free for all. For more information and to see further details for spectators, visit: www.rallynorthwales.co.uk/spectators .

Picture caption:

Matt Hirst aims for three in a row at the Get Jerky Rally North Wales.