With still over five weeks to go until the opening round of the 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, an impressive entry is gathering for the Nigel Ferguson Fabricators Tour of Epynt.
The Port Talbot MC organised classic takes place on Saturday 16 April, with around 70 stage miles planned over the famous mid-Wales military range.
The drivers who finished second, third and fourth in last year’s championship will commence their title challenge there, with Mark Kelly (partnered by Neil Colman in his Flext Ford Fiesta R5+) taking on Neil Roskell (who will be co-driven by Andrew Roughead in his ND Civils/Collins Construction Ford Fiesta R5+) verses John Stone (who teams up with Rhys Stoneman in his Legend Fires Volkswagen Polo GTI R5).
Having finished fourth on the Tour of Epynt last year, Steve Wood/Dale Bowen will be a force to be reckoned with in their Ford Fiesta WRC, while also aiming for victory will be Bob Fowden/Aled Davies in their Comline Auto Parts Subaru Impreza S11 WRC and Damian Cole/Charlotte Cole in their Get Connected Ford Fiesta R5+.
Adrian Spencer/Mark Hewitt always go well on Epynt and they’ll be looking for a strong Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship start in their RED Industries Subaru Impreza WRX, as will Roger Moran/Den Golding and former Dixies Challenge champion Phil Turner/Paul Williams who both appear in a Škoda Fabia R5+.
Steven Ormond-Smith/Shaun Layland contest the event in their rapid Mitsubishi Evo IX, Chris Rice/Neil Bye are expected to debut their new Subaru Impreza, while Richard Clews/Carl Williamson make a very welcome return to the series in their ITG Subaru Impreza STi.
There is a strong entry through the classes, especially for the Ford Escort Challenge – with the likes of Darren Atkinson/Phil Sandham, Olly Hunter/Jonathon Kennedy, Jay Stanley/Elgan Davies, Chris Berry/Lewis Griffiths, Andrew Turner/Richard Winstanley and Lewis Gatt/Callum Young, Brad Cole/Jamie Vaughan, Alan Marriage/Colin Jenkins all appearing in a Ford Escort Mk2.
Other class runners to look out for include Geoff Glover/Keith Barker (Vauxhall Astra RWD), Lloyd Morgan/Ellie Williams (Citroën C2), Anth Eaton/Ian Jackson (Ford Fiesta R4), Johnnie Mackay/Michael Cruickshank (Ford Fiesta ST) and event sponsor Marcus Pagett/Georgie Pagett (Nissan Micra Kit Car).
William Mains/Claire Williams will be knocking on the door of a top 10 finish in their Roy Thomas & Son-sponsored Vauxhall Nova, the 1400cc Protyre Asphalt champions returning for more giant-killing exploits this year.
The Historic classes have attracted increased interest this year, with Tom Llewellin/Ross Weir (Brace’s Bakery Ford Escort MK2) and Mike Simpson/Dale Gibbons (Ford Escort Mk1) already committing themselves to the title challenge.
A recce for competitors will take place the day before the event (Friday 15 April).
Fans will be welcomed back to Epynt for the first time since before the pandemic – although it is essential that spectators only go to the three official viewing locations, accessed via the dual carriageway from Llywel, and park as instructed.
The spectator points are:
Llandeilo’r Fan Triangle
Burma Road (entrance/exit from centre road)
German village at junction with Cilienni track (disabled viewing location)
Regulations and details on how to enter the 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship are available at asphaltrallying.com.
To be eligible to score points on the opening round of the series, competitors must register for the 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship and be a member of the BTRDA before arriving on Epynt (as it won’t be possible to register on the day). Membership can be done online at btrdamembership.com.