The Get Jerky Rally North Wales brings some of the best rally drivers in the business to Welshpool this weekend, as the new-look event heads for its new host town in Powys.
Thanks to an exciting new partnership with Trailhead Fine Foods and the high protein Get Jerky brand of beef jerky snacks, the popular loose surface stage rally will base itself in the market town, with rally headquarters inside Welshpool Livestock Market.
Making the most of its new home, Rally North Wales, organised by Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club, will see a bumper entry of over 120 cars being flagged away from the town centre on Saturday morning, before heading into the forests for a blistering day of action.
They will return to the town later that afternoon for champagne celebrations and awards presentations for the lucky winners.
With a star-studded list of names all battling for honours, the action out on the stages promises to be breathtaking. Crews in the Fuchs Lubricants Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship will bring unrivalled action for fans and they will be joined by the ever-popular Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship, many of which are contenders in the top-flight four-wheel-drive machinery.
Also returning will be the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters and the MINI Rally Challenge.
Topping the seeded entry list for the two-wheel drive field is two-time British Historic champion, Jason Pritchard with Phil Clarke alongside in their Ford Escort MKII. Former winners of Rally North Wales, they haven’t been in an Escort since 2021 so will need to get up to speed quickly.
Northern Irishman Marty McCormack and co-driver Barney Mitchell opened their BHRC campaign with a rally to forget in February, so will be looking to make amends in Wales, but will have the stunning FIAT 131 Abarth of Nick Elliott and Dave Price breathing down their necks.
Tom Walster and Chris Ridge will be looking to capitalise on a strong start to their season in their Ford Escort MKII, as will Adrian Hetherington and Ronan O’Neil, another crew to make the trip over the Irish Sea and rounding out the top five crews.
Other entries of note in the historic category include rally-returnee Richard Tuthill. The man behind the Tuthill Porsche outfit, he will tackle his first proper rally since 2014 in one of the firm’s 911s.
In the main field, it’s last year’s victors Matt Hirst and Declan Dear who head up the charge in their Fiesta R5. Tackling the Welsh Championship, the pairing will be aiming to get their campaign off to the perfect start in Welshpool.
British Rally Championship ace Alan Carmichael and co-driver Arthur Kierans bring their Hyundai i20 R5, taking a break from their BRC commitments. The Northern Irish driver is enjoying a good run of form of late and could well trouble Hirst.
Fellow BRC contenders Gavin Edwards and Caron Tomlinson aim for more seat time in their newly acquired Ford Fiesta R5, whilst Kevin Procter tackles his first gravel rally of 2023 with Jamie Edwards on the notes. Simon Rogers and James How round out the top five in their Mitsubishi EVO6.
With many more crews all gunning for glory, fans will be able to catch up with the cars and crews at a variety of venues during the day.
The Welshpool town centre start in Broad Street sees crews leaving from 8am on Saturday, with a host of stalls, displays and traders throughout the day. Access is free and offers a chance to view the cars up close.
Three action-packed viewing areas are available in the forests, in Dyfnant (run twice, 8:56am and 3:17pm), Big Ray [run twice 10:11am and 1:49pm] and Dyfi [run twice 10:25am and 2:03pm].
Access to each spectator stage costs £10 per car, per location and includes an event programme and 50 per cent of the car park proceeds are donated to local charitable organisations.
Crews will then return to Welshpool town centre just after 4pm for the finish celebrations.
For more information and to see further details for spectators, visit www.rallynorthwales.co.uk.