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It’s been five years since Shropshire based rally driver Henri Grehan was last behind the wheel of a rally car but will make his competitive comeback on the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally on 30th August. Driving his Ford Escort Mk2 on the BTRDA Rally Championship qualifier, Grehan will return to the forests to contest his home rally after taking a sabbatical from the sport in 2009.

Like many passions, rallying never strayed far from Grehan’s mind and he had been contemplating a comeback for several years, often attending the annual Woodpecker Rally to keep a watchful eye on old rivals and any new hotshots’ progress. It wasn’t long before he could no longer resist and began planning a comeback on next month’s Ludlow based event. “I’ve been away far too long” says Grehan.  “I’m not even sure if what the pace will be like and it will certainly take a few stages to get back into the swing of things. I`ve heard that Bringewood is the first stage so that will wake us up in the morning!”

Joined by regular co-driver Chris Ridge from Ludlow the duo are certainly looking forward to tackling some of the stages they know so well “I’ve done this rally more times than I can remember but it won’t take much to change the characteristics of the stages to make them unrecognisable” says Grehan. “The organisers say the stages are in perfect condition which will make it super-fast and Haye Park will be a great opportunity to have a little play to the crowds”. The all new two wheel drive format for the event has also received the thumbs up from Grehan. “It’s a fantastic idea” he says.  “It’s just makes it that much better for the two wheel drive runners if we can get a slightly better road position just behind the 1400 competitors. Most of the four wheel drive cars are built to take the ruts a lot better than us so it should level it all out a little”.

The “Voodoo Escort” will be a familiar sight to rally fans in the forests around Ludlow and Grehan can’t wait to dust off the race suit and get back in the driver’s seat. “As time goes on your priorities have to change and rallying was put to the back burner for a few years whilst I concentrated on the important things like work and family. It’s been a long time coming and thanks to my service crew, Selley Autos, rallyrides.co.uk and my family, I can really looking forward to getting back out there and see how our times compare. I won’t be expecting too much from myself, but I’d like to think we can entertain the spectators like we always used to!”

The 2014 Event Signs Woodpecker Stages Rally takes place on Saturday 30th August and offers over 120 competitors 44 stage miles of forests in Shropshire and Wales. Spectator stages include Radnor Forest near Presteigne and Haye Park just outside of Ludlow.  The first competitors will leave the start ramp at 8.30am on Saturday morning and more information on spectator access and times are available on the event website, http://www.woodpecker-rally.co.uk

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