Having won the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship in both 2018 and 2019, Jason Pritchard will attempt to complete a title winning hat trick when he contests the series again in 2021.
Having won the British Historic Rally Championship for a record-breaking third time in a row in 2017, Jason switched to the Asphalt Rally Championship in 2018 – winning three rallies and claiming the title in style in his immaculate North Road Garage-backed Ford Focus WRC.
Co-driven by Phil Clarke, Jason successfully defended his title in 2019 by winning the first three rounds and coming home second on the Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally and third on the final Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally to secure back-to-back titles.
The 32-year old Builth Wells driver is well known for his speed, consistency and ability to quickly get up to full throttle on new events and unfamiliar stages – but it’s on the Isle of Man where Jason holds a truly amazing record of success. He’s won the Isle of Man Historic Rally twice (2016 and 2017, driving a Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2) and finished third on the Manx International (in 2010, driving a Subaru Impreza STi N16) – but it’s his appearances on the last seven Manx National rallies that have been outstanding. Jason has won the event five times (in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019, driving a Focus WRC), finished a very close second in 2013 (just 3.4 seconds behind the winner) and third in 2017 – having won every stage except the penultimate one, where he lost over six minutes with an electrical fault.
There is only one major rally on the Isle of Man that Jason hasn’t contested, and needless to say he is looking forward to making his debut on the PokerStars – as the double header two-day event takes its place on the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship calendar for the first time.
Jason Pritchard said: “Winning the Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship title for a third time, especially against the high quality of competition in the series, won’t be easy – but that’s what we’ll be trying to do. Our philosophy has never changed and it’s very simple – do our absolute best on every event, and the results and the championship titles will look after themselves.
“I’m looking forward to all the events in the Asphalt Championship, because some like the Mewla and Three Shires are local, I’ve good memories of the Cheviot, having secured the title there both times, and the PokerStars and Tyrone are both new to me, so there is a really nice combination of events. Admittedly I’ve got a lot of experience on the Isle of Man, but I’ve always wanted to do the PokerStars and I’m really looking forward to that one.
“We’ll contest the Mewla in the Focus WRC, but we’ll have the Fiesta S2000 on standby for the Three Shires, just in case we have an issue. In fact, last year we were planning to contest the PokerStars in the Super 2, so we’ll decide nearer the time what car we’ll contest each event in. The decision depends on several factors, not least which car I fancy driving! The Super 2 is for sale, so it might be an opportunity to showcase its performance and send it off in style to a new home. It’s a fantastic rally car and it should be out rallying more than we’re able to use it.”
There are also strong commercial reasons why Jason contests the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, as it continues to be very good for business at his family run Toyota dealership.
“One other reason I’ll be contesting the Asphalt Rally Championship again this year is the exposure it gives North Road Garage,” adds Jason.
“This has really proven that rallying draws people into the garage, with the orders we have for the GR Yaris. The amount of customers asking me if I will be on the events because they want to go and watch is incredible. These are often people that I wouldn’t expect to be out watching a rally either.”
2021 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship – revised calendar
29 August….Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally
5 September….Hills Ford Three Shires Stages Rally
1/2 October….PokerStars Rally
24 October….Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally
6 November…. MJE Wheel Repair Specialists Tyrone Stages Rally