Osian Pryce in action at the Nicky Grist Stages in his VW Polo GTI R5.

World’s Greatest Gravel Forest Stages Set To Host Seven Round 2023 Welsh Rally Championship

By Paul Evans

Many of the world’s greatest gravel forest stages – like Myherin, Sweet Lamb, Dyfnant, Hafren and Crychan – will come together to form the 2023 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship, with an exciting seven-round calendar planned for next year.

Organised by the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs, the 2023 series will offer competitors a good geographical spread and a good date balance, with the first round taking place at the end of March, the final round at the end of October and only one event taking place over the months of June, July and August, providing plenty of time for mid-season car repairs during the summer break.

Each event will have an ultra-compact one-day format, with around 45 stage miles and minimal road mileage.

Thanks to the outstanding work of Rally 4 Wales, the Welsh forest stages are always in excellent condition. These super smooth world-class road conditions have seen the historic and smaller capacity car entries grow and the very successful introduction of a Road Rally class, whilst it has also attracted top-class competition from Ireland, Scotland, England the Isle of Man, and, of course, the home nation of Wales.

The 2023 season will start with the Get Jerky Rally North Wales on Saturday 25 March. Organised by Wolverhampton & South Staffs Car Club, the event will move from its traditional base in Dolgellau to Welshpool, which is home to the event’s new title sponsor. An exciting new route is being planned, featuring some classic forest stages.

 

Round 2 will be the Rallynuts Stages Rally on Saturday 15 April. Organised by Midland Manor Motor Club, the event is based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd and has stages in the nearby mid-Wales forests.

The Plains Rally, which successfully moved to its new home of Bala this year, hosts Round 3. The Knutsford & District Motor Club event will take place on Saturday 20 May, with another tight and compact route like the one which was so well received by competitors in 2022.

Round 4 will be the Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday 8 July. Based in Builth Wells, with the start, finish and service area all located in the town centre, the Quinton Motor Club event will contain super-smooth stages in the classic mid-Wales forests in and around the Epynt military range.

The Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Stages Rally is another hugely popular event that traditionally features some fantastic challenging stages and very low road mileage.

The Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club organised event will be based at Ludlow Racecourse and hosts Round 5 on Saturday 9 September.

The stunning Wales/England border is also the setting for the sixth and penultimate round of the 2023 Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship, the Wyedean Rally. Organised by Forest of Dean Motor Club, the event will take place on Saturday 14 October.

Matthew Hirst (far right) celebrates at the Wyedean Rally podium.

The seventh and final round will be the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, which takes place on Saturday 28 October. The North Wales Car Club organised event will be based in Llandudno and incorporates some of the most classic former Wales Rally GB stages in the north of the principality.

Following on from the success of recent years, each round of the 2023 Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship will be filmed and live-streamed online, with expert commentary, driver interviews and much more.

“Firstly I have to say a massive thank you to all the individual event organisers. Recently the pandemic held back their thinking, and now with it behind us they are looking to do things differently,” says Dave Evison, Secretary of the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh National Rally Championship.

“What? You might ask . . .  well, you will have to come and join us to find out!

“We have tweaked the class structure and the calendar with seven events, with the best five scores to count, and we will also use Sportity so that all the championship information is easily accessible and in one place.

“The main ingredients remain – friendly competition on the best stages in the world!”

 

2023 Motorsport UK Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship

25 March….Get Jerky Rally North Wales
15 April….Rallynuts Stages Rally
20 May….Plains Rally
8 July….Nicky Grist Stages
9 September….Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Stages
14 October….Wyedean Rally
28 October….Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally

 

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