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Hometown hero Henri Grehan ensured his quest for the Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship title remained firmly on track last weekend, by taking a thrilling maiden win at the Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Rally [3rd September].

Grehan, from the host town of Ludlow and co-driver Dan Petrie would hurl their Ford Escort MKII into a gripping battle with the FIAT 131 Abarth pairing of three-time British Rally Champion Matt Edwards and co-driver Hamish Campbell.

But it would be another Ludlow man Robert Gough who took the runner up spot with Sam Collis on the notes in their Escort MKII whilst Nick Elliott and Dave Price upheld the FIAT honours with third and the final podium spot.

After a long three-month break in the calendar, a bumper entry headed to the Shropshire-based event for the first time and the event would offer crews some of the best forest stages on both sides of the Welsh and English border.

Despite Grehan’s unrivalled knowledge of the Haye Park stages, it was Edwards who stole the march in Haye Park, setting a time three seconds faster than the local man. Elliott was a further eight behind in the dry and dusty conditions.

Edwards extended that gap by just one second on the first stage in the Radnor complex, but Grehan responded perfectly in the next, taking the lead of the BHRC crews at the mid-point of the rally.

In a blistering fight between the two drivers, Edwards claimed another two stage wins to enter the final stage of the rally – tied for the lead with Grehan; it was all or nothing for both drivers.

But the rally gods were not looking down on Edwards, who failed to emerge from the final test in Radnor Forest. Parking the FIAT up with rear suspension issues, leaving Grehan to spray the champagne as the victor, his first in the BHRC.

“You dream of days like this,” said Grehan.

“After everyone’s efforts to help me achieve the win and to do it on home soil against very tough opposition including a three-time British champion who was driving very well himself, I’m very overwhelmed.”

“It was pretty intense going into the last stage knowing I could not put a foot wrong, especially with the low-down misfire I had to contend with, but it was great to have my family and friends out watching.”

The title is in reach I guess, but I will just concentrate on the next rally for now. I want to keep building on my pace and consistency but what will be, will be at the end of the season. I’m just a working man always digging deep to try and achieve their goal.”

Outside of the battle for the lead, both Gough and Elliot had fight of their own. Like the leaders, there was little to separate the dueling drivers but Gough’s final stage fastest time sealed second place to make it a Ludlow one-two.

Elliott took the final podium spot and the FIA Category K win whilst reigning champions Ben Friend and Cliff Simmons took their Escort MKII to their best result of 2022 in fourth. Will Onions and David Williams rounded out the top five.

Chris Skill and Brian Hodgson were in a league of their own in Category Two [cars between 1968-1975], winning every one of the event’s six stages to seal victory by almost two minutes and thirty seconds from Rory and Paul McCann’s Hillman Avenger. Skill takes his Escort RS1600 to his first category win of the year and top BHRC2 points scorer”.

With just two rounds of the championship remaining, the series begins to gather pace with the penultimate round, Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, taking place in just under three weeks time.

For more information on any of the Championships promoted by the RACMRC, please visit:

Top Five Provisional Points after Round 4 – The Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Rally

Henri Grehan 105
Nick Elliott 82
Robert Gough 71
Matt Edwards 66
Rudi Lancaster 63

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