AFTER three years away the Wyedean Stages Rally in association with KGD Hereford returned in style.

Conditions were typical of the Dean stages and were very slippery after heavy rain overnight made for a real test of man versus machine for the seven tests.

Matt Hirst and Declan Dear followed up their 2019 win with another victory and with it the Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship in their Delta Salvage Fiesta R5.

Their winning margin was 47 seconds ahead of Ledbury youngster Rob Wilson’s Ravenol backed Lancer Evo 7. Wilson and co-driver Martin Haggett put on a fabulous show for spectators and thoroughly deserved a popular runner-up spot.

Twice winner Nik Elsmore took the final podium place in the CDS Taxis Lancer Evo 9, Elsmore and co-driver Rob Fagg.

Elsmore struggled to get the Lancer dialled into the conditions and took third spot on the last stage from Herefordshire duo John Caine with veteran Andrew Sankey.

Rounding out the top five was Bob Morgan and Adrian Williams in the Winner Garage Skoda Fabia R5.

Further down the field other local crews put in some excellent performances 

Tim Freeman had Cliffy Simmons pushing him on in the Historic spec RS1800 these two had a great run to 10th overall and second in class

"That was great fun, really slippery and greasy, it’s just so nice to be back in these forests let's hope the history of the event can continue now." said Simmons.

Another pair of veterans Jeremy Easson with co-driver Mike Reynolds now in a new Escort RS1600 had an excellent run to 14th and third in class.

Husband and wife duo Nigel and Karen Jenkins dominated their class in the NJ Autos Vauxhall Nova finishing 16th overall and winning the class by over two minutes.

Another crew to have a good run was Geoff Phelps with local boy Colin Jenkins calling the notes. Despite a last minute scare with oil pressure issues they took 21st overall and third in class.

Ross duo Gary Bollands with Nigel Baldwin finished 24th in the GB Motorservices Subaru.

Charles Hopkinson had a very good run with Hereford’s Alan Jones alongside him the duo took 28th overall.

Luke Watts together with Matt Rogers in the Ian Watts & Son MG ZR produced another good drive to 43rd and fourth in class showing no ill effects after his recent Woodpecker Stages roll.

Event sponsor Richard Cole together with Matt Nicholas had late drama when the throttle cable snapped on the freshly prepared Escort but they had an enjoyable run to 46th and eighth in class.

Dave Troughton went four wheeled drive this time in a new Subaru GC8 and together with Jordan McKenzie took 48th overall, just four seconds back were fellow locals Keith Bounds and Kevin Watkins switching back to another Impreza after a year in the Mini challenge they took 49th overall. 

Just 10 seconds back in 51st place was Mike Truman with Martha Howells calling the notes, these two survived a huge scare on the last stage.

Another pair of veterans Paul Simmonds and Mark Wheeler took 58th and fourth in class in the QEP backed Escort.

The event was sponsored by Vantage Point Business Village, Xite Nootropic Energy and Richard Cole Contracting