The 2015 REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship commences on 8th March with the traditional season-opener, the Melvyn Evans Motorsport Tour of Epynt. With more than a week to go before the flag drops on the Llandovery-based event, Port Talbot Motor Club has already exceeded its 2014 total in terms of entries, giving rise to the prospect of another classic day on the Military Ranges!
Last year’s winner, and setting out on his campaign to take a sixth straight MSA Asphalt Championship title, Damian Cole has Jack Morton for company in his Ford Focus WRC this season. The new pairing has already had a run-out on the recent Wyedean Forest Rally, finishing a creditable 6th overall, but now it gets serious!…
2013 Epynt winners Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh (Subaru Impreza WRC) were just five seconds off the lead by the end of last year’s event. Simpson was Asphalt Champion in 2007 and Walsh has been runner-up for the past three years – will it be their turn this time?
Whichever crew emerge as champions at the end of the season, you can be sure that they will have had their work cut out to achieve such an accolade – as the quality and quantity in the Epynt entry illustrates in graphic style! In no particular order, Class B14 includes Fiestas for Graham Coffey, Alex Laffey & Roger Moran, Proton Millingtons in the capable hands of David Tinn & Simon Chapman and Impreza WRCs for Simon Bowen, Robert Swann, Tim Wilson & Chris Ford. Meanwhile, Eian Pritchard has entered in the Focus WRC that his son, Jason, used to win last year’s Manx National Rally.
Group N sees the usual Impreza versus Mitsubishi Lancer stand-off – in the blue corner, David White returns to defend his title and will be joined by the similar car of Wynne Watkins. For his part, Rob Tout will be hoping for a return to the heady days of 2012 when his EVO9 swept all before it, not only winning Group N in some style, but finishing 4th overall in that year’s Championship….
Class B13 – 4WD non-WRCs or derivatives – also has the makings of an excellent contest with the news that renowned Escort MkII pilot Simon Mauger is to join the ‘regulars’ at the wheel of a Millington-engined Metro 6R4. Amongst those indicating their intention to join him are a string of Imprezas in the capable hands of David Hardie, Adrian Spencer, Bob Fowden, Neal Arden, Richard Clews & Chris Rice, Lancer EVOs for Chris Marshall, Philip Turner & Richard Slinger, plus Ian Copping in a Focus.
The Millington Rear-Wheel Drive Challenge welcomes the Darrian T90 GTR of John Indri back to its ranks this year. The ‘yellow peril’ will be in good company – there are Darrians for Richard Merriman and Tony Rees while, as might be expected, Escorts of various shapes and sizes are out in numbers! Paul Evans, Mark Jasper, Mark Borthwick, Roger Hicks, Martin Hodgson & Mark Rowlands have MkII-shelled examples, while Ian Kenvin’s is a MkI. Then there’s Richard Felgate’s BMW M3, the brace of Team Lotusbits Talbot Sunbeams for Mike Taylor & Cathy Sewart and Geoff Glover’s unique Vauxhall Astra.
The AB Motorsport Front-Wheel-Drive Challenge was the preserve of Darren & Sue Underwood’s Nova last year. The husband-and-wife crew are, as yet, undecided as to whether to defend their Class B10 title or switch to an Escort G3 that is sitting in the wings!… Amongst those ready to step into their FWD shoes, should the opportunity present itself, are Kev Monaghan/Chris Purvis who are starting their first full season in a recently-acquired Escort F2 Maxi and, after an absence of several years, Royston Carey returns with his Renault Clio. David Earthy is back in his Citroen C2R2 and, also after a number of seasons away, Bentley engineer Tim Seipel has resurrected his class-winning MG ZR for some further competition!
The 1400 category is also set to see some action this season – Questmead’s Steve Brown returns in a Nissan Micra ‘Kit Car’, 2014 winner Ian Barnard has built himself a new Vauxhall Nova and they will both be joined by Ian Kelly in another Micra. The crew from ‘Special Stage’ will be filming the Tour of Epynt for subsequent broadcast on Motors TV – this particular programme is initially scheduled for transmission at 10.00pm on Friday 20th March.
Those competitors who have yet to register for the Championship are asked to do so before the Event on the BTRDA membership website, where you can join or renew your membership and register for the Championship. It’s very straight-forward and you can pay using your credit or debit card. The website address is https://www.btrdamembership.com/index.php
If you don’t want to register on-line, you can still do so at Event Documentation, but it would save time if you came with your form already fully completed (in capitals, please) and the correct payment. If you haven’t got a form, you can download one from the Championship website.
The first car leaves the start of the Tour of Epynt, on the Military Ranges, at 8.40am on Sunday 8th March. Seven special stages and 80 competitive miles later, cars will begin arriving back at the Castle Hotel in Llandovery for the finish at 4.30pm that afternoon.
Further details of the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship are available from the Coordinator :
Andrew Haill – Tel : 0121 313 1416/E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
by visiting the Championship website : http://www.asphaltrallying.com
Image courtesy of ralliphotoswales