The 2021 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship calendar will remain largely unchanged from the one planned for the Covid-19 cancelled 2020 season, with five of the seven qualifying rounds held on closed public roads, two rounds held on classic military rally terrain and three new rallies entering the series.
With continued support from title sponsor Protyre Motorsport – the largest suppler of Pirelli, Michelin and Hoosier motorsport tyres in the UK – Britain’s premier seal-surface rally series will begin with the Legend Fires Tour of Epynt. Organised by Port Talbot Motor Club, the first motor club to bring rallying to the rollercoaster military range above Sennybridge back in 1965, next year’s event is scheduled to take place on Easter Saturday (3 April).
Rounds 2 and 3 will be the Manx National Rally, which by popular demand has been retained as a double points-scoring event, with full Championship points awarded after day one on Friday 14 May (which will feature night time stages) and after a full daytime second leg on Saturday 15 May. Organised by Manx Auto Sport, the event will feature a revised route, with many of the classic Isle of Man stages included.
The Championship travels to Scotland next, for the Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally. Organised by the Jim Clark Memorial Motor Club, the closed road event will be based in Duns, Berwickshire, and run between 28-30 May.
The improved geographical spread of events, which was another popular request from competitors, continues when Northern Ireland hosts Round 5, the MJE Wheel Repair Specialists Tyrone Stages Rally, on Saturday 24 July. Organised by Cookstown Motor Club, the event will contain closed road stages around the Stewartstown area of East Tyrone.
Another eagerly anticipated newcomer to the series is the Hills Ford Three Shires Stages Rally, which hosts the penultimate round of the series on Sunday 5 September. The Cheltenham Motor Club-organised event was the third closed road stage rally to be held in England in 2019, with stages located, as its title suggests, in three counties – Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
The seventh and final round of the Championship will be the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally, which returns to its later date of Sunday 24 October. Organised jointly by Whickham & District Motor Club and Hadrian Motor Sports Club, both the 2018 and 2019 Championship titles were decided on an exciting shootout over the Otterburn military range in Northumberland, and with the possibility of new closed road sections, it is sure to once again provide a challenging and fitting end to a hard fought season.
As well as sponsoring the series, Protyre will continue to offer registered competitors very competitive special rates on all brands of competition tyres and very generous overall and class tyre incentives – as well as operating a comprehensive on-event service at each round, offering tyre delivery, tyre fitting, emergency supply of tyres and advice.
All rounds of the 2021 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship will be filmed and streamed live on the internet, in a continuation of a service that has received in excess of one million views (2018-19 season figures combined). Guest commentators from the world of rallying will join co-driving-turned-microphone prodigy Howard Davies, while the footage will include more trackside locations, drone images, driver interviews and behind-the-scenes features.
Competitors who registered for the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship in 2020 will have their registration fee rolled over for the 2021 season.
The 2021 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship Sporting and Technical Regulations will be published on asphaltrallying.com at midnight tonight.
Mike Broad, President of the BTRDA, said: “I’d like to thank everyone – competitors, officials, organising clubs and in particular Protyre – for their patience in 2020. With a new calendar of events, more class incentives and an increase in competitor registrations, which will be held over for next year, we were all looking forward to a fantastic Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship. But like many other things, Covid-19 prevented this from happening. For the events that supported us in 2020, we want to support them as we all get back on our feet in 2021, and therefore the calendar will remain largely unchanged for next season. The only exception is the Legend Fires North West Stages Rally, which was to have hosted the opening round in March, but which has been postponed until 2022. With more emphasis on closed road stages, and an excellent geographical spread, I believe the 2021 championship offers competitors a truly incredible challenge and great value for money. The future remains a little uncertain and we all have to accept the possibility that there may be a few date changes within the calendar, but we very much hope to run a full championship in 2021 – and all enjoy a year full of serious fun once again.”
Shaun Chetwyn, Protyre Motorsport Manager, said: “We are proud to sponsor such a great championship and would like to thank everyone for their continued support during these difficult times. Protyre remains committed to the Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship as we recognise it as being a fundamental part of the UK rally scene. We look forward to building on the championship’s current success and helping to secure its future for many years to come.”
Jane Evans, Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship Co-ordinator, said: “Whilst we were all very disappointed that Covid-19 put paid to virtually all rallying in the UK in 2020, the exciting innovations that we had planned haven’t gone to waste – as they have all been rolled over and incorporated into the 2021 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship. This includes an exciting new calendar, with more closed road stage events than ever before. We have new categories, most notably the Ford Escort Challenge, and some new class prizes and incentives that we will announce in due course. I would like to thank Protyre, the individual events and all competitors for their resilience during what has been a very testing 2020. You don’t fully appreciate things in life until they’re taken away, and our journey through this year has only made us more determined to come back better and stronger in 2021 – and that is undoubtedly our aim for the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship.”
2021 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship
3 April…. Legend Fires Tour of Epynt
14/15 May….Manx National Rally
28/30 May….Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally
24 July…. MJE Wheel Repair Specialists Tyrone Stages Rally
5 September….Hills Ford Three Shires Stages Rally
24 October….Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally