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WoopeckerPR03_pre_eventPicking a winner from the record number of 180 crews starting this weekend’s Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally will be a tough ask for even the most experienced motorsport fan as the popular Ludlow based rally kicks off from Ludlow Racecourse on Saturday (5th September) morning. A whole host of competitors from the REIS-Ravenol BTRDA National Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Rally Championship will converge in Shropshire as the event receives one of its biggest entries in its 32 year history.

Organised by Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club, the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally boasts a full capacity entry and is sure to provide a full days entertainment for rally fans and thrill seekers alike.  From modern day world rally cars to historic classics, there is a treat in store for spectators in the Shropshire and Powys forests.

Leading the pack away will be BTRDA front runner Stephen Petch / Ian Windress in their Ford Fiesta R5+ after number one seed and last year’s winner Paul Bird had to withdraw due to commitments with his World Superbike team. Petch will be followed by an impressive list of world rally cars which includes number 3 seed Jamie Anderson / Jon Scott in the rare Mitsubishi WRC 05. Anderson is fresh from his Welsh Rally Championship victory on last month’s Nicky Grist stages and will undoubtedly be looking to take the overall honours in Ludlow. Charlie Payne / Carl Williamson will start at four in their unusual 2-litre Fiesta.

Local heroes Shaun Gardener / Ben Innes return to the sport after several years away in their aging yet ultra-competitive Mitsubishi E5. Ludlow based Gardener had been planning a comeback to the event in 2014 but suffered from a reoccurring back injury which ruled him out of the event just days before the start.  The duo will be looking to repeat his 2006 & 2008 victories in the event and add his name to the winner’s trophy once more.

Sponsored once again by Midlands based signage specialists Eventsigns and supported by Hills Ford, the event also plays host to a raft of regional championships including the Jelf Motorsport 2WD Welsh Clubmans Rally Championship, FMP Motor Factors Rally Challenge, Brian Dennis Motorsport Welsh Historic Rally Championship, REIS ASWMC Rally Championship and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship.

The first competitors will leave the start ramp at 8.30am on Saturday 5th heading for the first spectator stage at around 9am at Haye Park just outside Ludlow which will utilise the popular hairpin as in previous years. A brief service back at the Racecourse will be followed by a blast through the Radnor Stage near Monaughty at around midday. Crews will return to Ludlow for another service halt before a final run through Haye Park at 3pm. The Racecourse will host the finish ceremony and prize giving later in the afternoon. Entry to the event is £10 per vehicle and includes a programme.

More information including an easy to use map of the spectator locations can be found at

Image courtesy of Rally Action Photography.

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