Sponsored by Weir Engineering. 14th February 2015.
Wyedean Top 10
Thanks to Russ Otway at http://www.90right.com For all of the photographs.
BIRD STRIKES ON VALENTINE’S DAY!....
Having finished as runners-up on the 2014 Weir Engineering Wyedean Forest Rally, Penrith’s Paul Bird and Welsh co-driver Aled Davies have gone one better this year to take victory on the 40th Anniversary of the Chepstow Racecourse-based event.
In second place after the first of eight special stages in the Forest of Dean, Bird/ Davies proceeded to set a string of fastest times in their Ford Focus WRC, putting them into a lead which had stretched to half-a-minute by the end of the day.
Runners-up were Scots crew Dave Weston/Kirsty Riddick in their Subaru Impreza WRC, with the similar car of 2007 Wyedean winners Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank, who are returning to forest rallying after a season of asphalt events, taking 3rd place.
With Carl Williamson to guide him along the way, Yorkshireman Charlie Payne (Ford Fiesta), the most recent Wyedean winner (2012) in this year’s capacity entry, was 4th overall, while 2001/2009 victor Nik Elsmore was 5th in a borrowed Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9. The Top Six was completed by Damian Cole/Jack Morton (Ford Focus WRC) - an exact repeat of the Hereford driver’s last visit to the rally in 2010.
The first two-wheel drive car home was the Ford Escort MkII of Cheltenham’s Nick Elliott/Dave Price and it is pleasing to report that Graham Elsmore/Stuart Harrold, the winners of the first three Wyedean Rallies between 1975 & 1977, took a Top 20 finish and a class win in their own Weir Engineering-sponsored Escort.
The 1400cc category, which accounted for 65 of the starters, was won by Dave Bennett/Alistair McNeil in their Vauxhall Corsa. The Yorkshire crew were a couple of seconds faster than their nearest rivals through the opening stage of the day to establish a lead that they maintained throughout the remainder of the event.
Hereford’s Ian Evans/Justin Brooks were 2nd in their Nova, forty-eight seconds adrift of the leaders, while third place went to the Toyota Yaris of another Yorkshire crew, Ash Slights/Alex Lee.
As cars left Chepstow at the start of the rally, steady rain was falling which, following
similar weather in recent days, made the going very slippery.
However, it soon cleared up and the only event of its type to use the Forest of Dean during the year attracted large numbers of spectators to various points along the route.
Unless they had been on the first couple of stages, one thing they would have missed was the sight and sound of the Lancia Stratos driven by 2010 Wyedean winner Steve Perez.
Having suffered oil surge problems with the iconic car during pre-event testing, he and codriver Paul Spooner joined the growing list of retirements quite early on.
Weir Engineering Wyedean Forest Rally Results Top 10 overall in 2015
|1. Paul Bird/Aled Davies||0:42:25|
|2. David Weston/Kirsty Riddick||0:42:59|
|3. Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank||0:43:08|
|4. Charles Payne/Carl Williamson||0:43:31|
|5. Nik Elsmore/Matt Edwards||0:44:01|
|6. Damian Cole/Jack Morton||0:44:14|
|7. Stephen Petch/Ian Windress||0:44:26|
|8. Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead||0:44:37|
|9. Bob Ceen/Andy Bull||0:44:54|
|10. Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy||0:45:01|
40 glorious years.
Our first Wyedean Forest Rally took place in October 1975. The organisers were young, enthusiastic and still in their teens or early twenties. What they lacked in experience they made up with hard work and a desire to “make it happen” for the Forest of Dean and their club.
Little did they know that some 41 years later, now a lot older and clutching bus passes, that many would still be organising “The Wyedean” and that it would become a premier event in the motorsport calendar.
It is a fantastic journey that they have made, the Wyedean has suffered from sub zero temperatures, gales bringing trees down on the stages and knee deep snow, but still the events went ahead with no cancellations.
Many people have come and gone over the years, but each has added something to the event and have left with knowledge of having been part of something special.
The experience our organisers have gained over the years has only added to their polished professionalism which has gained many accolades over the years.
Our Clerk of Course.
Phil Turley was a founder member of the Forest of Dean Motor Club and has been CoC for every event, a record that I believe is unmatched by any other club.
Now clutching his bus pass which he received many years ago he is still the driving force with a keen eye for detail and a quick mind to resolve all those issues that inevitably arise during the event.
Phil was also one of the first to obtain his radio controllers licence, that was back in the day when it ran on 86mhz.
A celebration of rallying in the Forest of Dean.
The Forest of Dean Motor Club was formed in July 1967 and ran the first Wyedean Stages in October 1975 and this has ran continuously since.
The first event was a battle between Graham Elsmore, David Stokes and Frank Pierson, they headed the field all day and finished in that order. Graham won the next two Rallies to complete his hat trick.
The entry fee was an eye watering £27.00 for 54 stage miles, the winner, however, did collect a prize of a cheque for £40.00.
Neil Henderson has chronicled all motorsport events held in the Forest of Dean this can be found by clicking the link in the left column.
To celebrate our 40 years of running the Wyedean, Neil is producing a booklet which covers every Wyedean Rally since 1975 this will include 16 pages of colour photographs and anecdotes from competitors.
To describe in detail each of the 40 rallies is a huge undertaking, fortunately Neil has become a walking encyclopaedia and the book, for some, will have many little known details which he has unearthed.
The book is not for profit, all proceeds after printing costs will go to the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and the Dylke Hospital.
If you have any memorabilia you would like to share, I am sure Neil would be delighted to hear from you, just use the contact page on the Dean Rallies website.
The form to order a copy of the book can be found here
Our sponsor for the Wyedean.
The father-and-son team behind laundry equipment manufacturers HJ Weir Engineering Co. Ltd. & Weir Laundry Equipment Co. Ltd is taking its love for rally driving to a new level by sponsoring the Chepstow Racecourse-based Wyedean Forest Rally for three years. The event will henceforth be known as the Weir Engineering Wyedean Forest Rally.
As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of flatwork finishing equipment, the family firm’s business has no obvious connection with rallying, but Rob and Ross Weir are enthusiastic participants in the sport and are both keen to support the Forest of Dean Motor Club, organisers of the event.
“It’s good to support a local motor club at a local event,” says MD Rob, 60. “It’s a well-organised event, they are all volunteers and they put a lot of work into it.”
The Wyedean Forest Rally holds special significance for both the Weirs. Rob was a keen rally driver in his younger days but gave up when son Ross, now 30 and a director of the firm, was a toddler.
The Wyedean Forest Rally was his final event before retiring and it was also the same event that later got him back into driving.
“Two years ago the Forest of Dean Motor Club approached us to see if we had a suitable facility in which carry out scrutineering for the rally,” he says. “We accommodated them and provided warehouse facilities. When we watched the rally that year, Ross said that I should have another go. I got the bug back and decided to do something reckless, just at the age when most people are packing it in.”
The pair bought a Subaru Impreza, built by Rob Smith Rallying Ltd., and started driving as a team, with Rob as driver and Ross as co-driver, starting with the Wyedean Forest Rally in 2012. They have since enjoyed considerable success, most notably at the Sol Rally in Barbados where, two years in a row, they have been placed second in their M8-A category in 2012 and International Historic 2013.
Clerk of Course.
Oakdene, 32 Park Road
Berry Hill, Coleford
Gloucestershire GL16 7QU
01594 810161, 07896 967443
0121 313 1416