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Woodpecker 09 (4)It all turned out well on this years Woodpecker as the Gravel championship joined the BTRDA series for the first time in a long time. With Haye Park running twice and the ANCRO crews using it a third time we buried ourselves in their for the day. Overall the National event was won comfortably by Steve Perez & Paul Spooner (Focus WRC) after the main challenge of Roger Duckworth & Mark Broomfield (Impreza WRC) subsided following a stage maximum on one of the runs through Radnor. 2nd went to Nik Elsmore & Craig Drew after an impressive run in their Evo IX. Completing the podium were Alan Cookson & Julian Wilkinson giving ‘Daisy’, the cow liveried Impreza WRC, a good final result before being sold. In the BTRDA, or the clubmans event, top spot went to Will Nicholls & Nick Broom (Impreza WRC). If the total times of the National field are included then Nicholls would have been leading Perez by 9 seconds, at this stage.Having a good run to second place were Nigel Griffiths & Josh Burton, whose Impreza showed plenty of brushes with the scenery. After a troubled day the pre-event favourites Andrew Burton & Shelley Rogerson brought home the Peugeot Cosworth in third place. This was a tight call as going in to the final stage Burton was behind BTRDA championship leader David Wright (Evo IX) by eight seconds. A blinding drive and fastest stage time saw him go in front by 13 seconds. If only the car had run smoothly through the 1st Haye Park and Radnor stages then maybe Burton could have extended his record number of wins on the Woodpecker, instead he ended up behind the car co-driven by his son!

In the 2WD runners it was going to be all about the local crews. Joe Price & Chris Brooks took their Escort MkII to sixth overall as well as being the top 2WD crew. For us Joe had the drive of the day beating many of the 4WD crews including those running in the National event. However he did not win by a country mile as his team-mates, and fellow Voodoo Escort, Henri Grehan & Chris Ridge were just 16 seconds behind in 2nd place, taking top Silver Star points. Completing the podium was another Escort MkII, but this time of top HRCR runner Nick Elliott & Dave Price. They appeared to be having a wild day each time they passed our position, maybe trying too hard to counter the local knowledge of the Price and Grehan.

Running ahead of all the others were the 1400’s and it was all change on the final stage. Justin Lawson & Paul Hargreaves (Nova) turned round a four second deficit in to an eight second win over Darren Pinchin & Karen Watts (Satria). Completing the podium with a very sideways drive all day were Brian McGuinness & Ian Harden (Corsa) pipping 1400’s series leader Callum Black (MG ZR).

Rather quick this time, here is our compilation video from the rally –

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