The Nigel Ferguson Fabricators Tour of Epynt on Saturday 16 April will host the opening round of the BTRDA-run 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship as Britain’s premier sealed-surface rally series completes a calendar, sporting regulation and management shake-up – with experienced rally navigator Paul Morris taking over as Championship Co-ordinator.
Paul brings a huge wealth of rallying experience to the role. His first introduction to the Asphalt Rally Championship was in the mid-1980s servicing for John Price – a driver with who he later won his first national rally on the 1996 Cheviot. Paul remains a very active co-driver and contested the PokerStars Rally (a round of the Asphalt Rally Championship) with Roger Moran in a Škoda Fabia R5+ last year. Paul is also the reigning BTRDA Bronze Star champion, having co-driven for Steve Black in a Suzuki Swift.
Paul will be assisted in the role of Asphalt Rally Championship Co-ordinator by fellow co-driver Paul Wakely. His rallying career also spans over 40 years and Paul’s long list of achievements includes two victories on the Mewla Rally; in 2005 with Melvyn Evans (Subaru Impreza S7 WRC) and 12 years later in 2017 with Bob Fowden (Subaru Impreza S11 WRC).
Paul has also reassembled many of the backroom staff that have been involved in the Asphalt Rally Championship in recent years, including results/points guru Ron Jackson, photographer Mark Sims, scrutineer Geoff Doe, press officer Paul Evans and the live streaming team at Special Stage TV – with commentary this year coming from former WRC and BBC reporter Mark James.
With continued support from title sponsor Protyre Motorsport – the largest supplier of Pirelli, Michelin and Hoosier motorsport tyres in the UK – Paul has wasted no time in confirming a revised 2022 calendar that features some of the UK’s best asphalt stages.
The 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship will begin with the popular Port Talbot Motor Club organised Nigel Ferguson Fabricators Tour of Epynt on Easter Saturday. A route of approximately 70 stage miles is planned over the famous rollercoaster roads above Sennybridge with the event HQ, scrutineering, start, finish, service area and awards all located at the quarry.
Round 2 will be 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 and takes place on 27/28 May.
The series remains in Scotland for Round 3, which will be the Dunoon presents Argyll Rally on 24/25 June. The Mull Car Club organised event ran as a closed road stage rally for the first time last year and included two stages through Dunoon’s town centre and challenging stages around the Cowal peninsula in the picturesque Argyll and Bute region.
The classic Hamilton’s Folly stage will feature in Round 4 as the series returns to Northern Ireland for the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally on 23 July. Organised by Rathfriland MC and Ballynahinch & DMC, the event made its Asphalt Rally Championship debut in 2019 and featured some spectacular closed road stages in County Down.
Round 5 will be the Get Connected Rali Bae Ceredigion on 3/4 September. Organised jointly by Newtown and District Automobile Club, Aberystwyth and District Motor Club, Lampeter and District Motor Club and Teifi Valley Motor Club, the Aberystwyth-based event is Wales’ only closed road stage rally and hosts a round of the Asphalt Rally Championship for the first time.
The closed roads of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire were highly praised when the Hills Ford 3 Shires Stages made its series debut in 2021 and therefore it is no surprise to see the Cheltenham Motor Club-organised event host the sixth and penultimate round of the series on 18 September.
The seventh and final round of the series will be the PokerStars Rally on 30 September/1 October. Organised by Manx Auto Sport, the event will feature some of the classic Isle of Man stages including Little London and St Mark’s and be based at the TT Grandstand.
The best five scores from seven events will count.
The 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship Sporting and Technical Regulations and Entry Forms are available to download at: asphaltrallying.com
Mike Broad, President of the BTRDA, said: “The BTRDA is very grateful to Paul [Morris] for stepping into the breach to organise the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship. It’s a big task and we shall give him and his team all the support they need. I very much hope that we can count on the support of the regular asphalt competitors and I look forward to seeing some new names competing in 2022. The support we receive from Protyre, and Shaun Chetwyn in particular, has been superb and I very much look forward to a very competitive Championship.”
Shaun Chetwyn, Protyre Motorsport Manager, said: “Protyre is delighted to confirm that it is continuing as title sponsor of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship in 2022. It is great that the Championship is back in full swing and we’re looking forward to delivering a great series alongside Paul Morris and his team. We already support many drivers and teams within motorsport and we’re here to support with tyre supply and deliver as well as on-event support at every round of this Championship. We look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones throughout the 2022 season.”
Paul Morris, Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship Co-ordinator, said: “It was always going to be a challenge taking on an important role like this at the eleventh hour and we have tried to re-establish a set of Championship regulations that will appeal to all competitors and a new calendar of events befitting the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship. The support I have received from the event organisers has been magnificent, but of course by now many event dates are set in stone. It’s not ideal to have three rallies in September, but for that reason there will be five best scores to count from seven rallies and no double-header events. We are already working on the calendar for 2023, with a better spread of events. But of paramount importance is to make this year’s Asphalt Rally Championship a great one and to continue to develop the series for future generations to enjoy. I could not have achieved what we have in the last two weeks had it not been for the support of the BTRDA, Paul Wakely, Shaun Chetwyn from Protyre Motorsport, all the trade partners including Richard Scarbrough at Motul, my partner Donna, the event organisers and the many competitors who have contacted me and pledged their wholehearted support.”
2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship
16 April….Nigel Ferguson Fabricators Tour of Epynt
27/28 May….Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally
24/25 June….Dunoon presents Argyll Rally
23 July….Carryduff Forklift Down Rally
3/4 September….Get Connected Rali Bae Ceredigion
18 September….Hills Ford 3 Shires Stages
30 September/1 October….PokerStars Rally
Brilliant well done Paul and your team and great to see Epynt back on the scene