WITHINGTON farmer Roger Chilman is aiming to be among the front runners at the four-day RAC Rally that will be based in Leominster.

Chilman will be accompanied by veteran Brian Thomas in the Securcom, Morspan backed Escort RS1800.

“This is going to be a proper test of man and machine," said Chilman.

"The event is based around Leominster and is great for the town and its businesses, and they really have embraced the rally being in the town.

"Day one will be interesting with two runs through Radnor before we head to the meat of the event in the Kielder Forest.

"There are few on the entry list that always go well in Kielder, the pace at the front will be hot, but I hope to be not too far away despite being a bit rusty."

The event will be based from Brightwell’s Auction Centre in Leominster, starting tomorrow morning.

"It’s extremely exciting for us to welcome the rally to Brightwell’s, and Leominster Town Council is keen to welcome visitors to the town to enjoy the rally," said Brightwell’s joint managing director Richard Binnersley.

The event opens with two special stages at the Shelsey Walsh hill climb circuit, before the first of two visits to Radnor Forest with the other two stages up on the gravel of Epynt Ranges.

The cars will then return to Leominster for service before making the long journey north to Carlisle ready for Saturday’s mammoth leg.

On Sunday, the rally crosses the border into southern Scotland for the famous stages of Castle O'Er Twigless and Greskine before another overnight halt back in Carlisle.

Mondays final leg sees a 7am start for just five tests in and around the Falstone complex before the first car arrives back to finish around 3pm at the visitors centre at Kielder Water.

Other locals competing are RAC rally veteran’s Theo Bengry and Les Forsbrook, who are driving an Opel Ascona that won the Motoring News road rally championship nearly 40 years ago.

Meanwhile, Ross-on-Wye garage owner Steve Bennett will wheel out his Escort RS1800 with Osian Owen alongside.

"This is a proper event very reminiscent of the old RAC rallies," said Bennett.

"There will be lots of bobble hat and welly spectators out lining the stages at all hours,.

"You've just got to try and keep out of trouble, one slip in and it's game over.

"But I can't wait to get going."