Crews from all over the UK will head to Walters Arena in South Wales next weekend for the Welsh Hill Rally. The event, organised by That’s Motorsport Ltd., will take place between 17th and 19th May.
Last year’s winner Paul Rowlands will return to the event in his Par Homes-supported Polaris. His son Jason Rowlands will also be racing in his Can-Am X3 with Liam Dudley co-driving.
Ian Gregg and Adam Evans will be in their Polaris RZR XP1 Turbo and they’ll be looking to go one better than their second place finish last year.
After a very successful 2018 event George Bryson and Wallace McKay will be out again in their Howford Hydraulics Kirkland Proto. With Bryson from Scotland and McKay from Northern Ireland they are possibly the crew who have the longest combined journey to get to the event.
“It was my first crack at the event last year,” said Bryson. “I was delighted to win a closely-fought class and finish 7th overall. My usual co-driver Jacqueline Bryson couldn’t compete last year due to a back injury and this year she’s having to work so I’ll have Wallace in the navigator’s seat again. We’re also planning on entering the Borders Hill Rally. It’s a long trip to get to Walters for us both so we’re hoping for a finish and an enjoyable weekend. Anything more would be a bonus.”
Another driver returning to the event is Harry Nicoll. Nicoll finished in the top 20 last year in a Tomcat and he was planning on using the same car this year but plans have changed.
“The Tomcat’s gearbox is away for a rebuild, it should’ve been ready but now won’t be,” commented Nicoll. “There’s also an engine issue so I’ve ran out of time to get the car sorted. I’ll be using my dad’s Mattserati instead which is quite a change! It’s got a 4.8 Rover V8 and is a lot quicker than the Tomcat. I’m very nervous about doing the event in it as I’ve only driven it once. It should be fun though and I’m looking forward to it!
Aston Cox will be out in his GSR 206. Cox is racing in the BXCC this year after winning the NORC championship with father Martin last year. Becca Clarkson will be navigating.
Chloe Jones and Tom Gray will be competing in their QT 88. It will be Gray’s first hill rally although Jones contested last year’s event and both experienced the venue on their way to a class win at the opening BXCC round. Chloe’s sister Zoe will be also be at the event helping with the organisation.
Phill Bayliss and Lance Murfin are entered in their distinctive Old Forge Garage-supported Land Rover. The former BCC Trophy champions finished 12th overall on the recent BXCC round and had a problem-free test session at an event at Baden Hall on the May Bank Holiday.
Former Freelander Challenge champion Ian Linford has been competing on stage rallies recently, including the Rally GB National event, and he’ll be doing his first hill rally with Demelza Scholes co-driving.
Cameron Crow and Pauline Stevenson will be doing the Welsh Hill Rally for the first time in their 3.9 V8 Tomcat. Stevenson commented: “We’ve both done the Borders Hill Rally for several years, sometimes together and sometimes with other people. This is our first time doing both the Welsh and the Hill Rally Championship though. Fingers crossed we go fast and safe.”
There are three Lofthouse cars on the entry list. Justin Birchall and Jonny Koonja will be in their Birchall Foodservice and Mancini Jeans-backed car and should be able to go somewhat quicker than the standard Isuzu D-Max they used last year. Joining Birchall will be Richard Wynne-Williams and Matthew Lowe in their BMW M3-powered car and Mark Jacques and Adam Nicholson with their LS3-engined example.
It’s not just the crews who are travelling from all over the UK to support the event. Some of the marshals, without whom there would be no event, will have long trips too including one who is towing a caravan from Aberdeenshire, a journey of over 500 miles! With a slightly shorter distance to travel is Moira Aston, wife of That’s Motorsport’s Chairman Jon, who’ll be the event’s Competitor Liaison Officer. She commented: “I’m really looking forward to doing the CLO role and meeting all the competitors at signing on.”
The event will start on Friday evening with two stages, There will then be two full days of competition over the weekend with a total of 20 challenging stages. For more information please visit thewelshhillrally.com.
Thank you to the event sponsors: Voxcloud, Staffordshire Signs, Britpart, Par Homes, Bowler, Wynne Williams Properties, Birchall Foodservice, NickyGrist.com, Gamber, AJD Offroad, Commercial Colours an Alldrive Classic 4x4 with thanks also to Andy & Sue Powell and Richard Green & Karina James.