The Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Rally will have a very different look in 2023, as the 9 September event introduces a brand-new format for the popular Ludlow-based forest rally.
Supported for a second year by Presteigne Tyre Services and Phil Price Rally School, the Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club organised loose surface stage rally will continue its theme of progression and diversification by revamping the entire route of the rally and utilising little-used forests on both sides of the Welsh and English borders.
As one of the most popular events on the British rallying calendar, many of the popular features have been retained, including its traditional Ludlow Racecourse base and eight special stages. But a radical shakeup in the route will see some new tests included on the roster, bolstered by the return of forests not used for decades by the rally.
Introduced to the Woodpecker Rally for the first time this year will be the Cwmysgawen forest complex, just west of Knighton in Powys. Only now used for one other event per year, the introduction of the test will be the opening stage of the event and like all others, used twice.
Another little used forest and brand new to the event will be the Ceri test. Situated just outside of Newtown, the stage will provide an exciting high-speed test for crews before they begin to return to more familiar ground in the shape of Hopton. Despite not being used for several years, the short blast is a firm favourite with drivers and makes a welcome return to the schedule.
The rally will also retain its highly popular double run through Haye Park, just outside of Ludlow. Traditionally attracting many spectators from the town and surrounding areas, the blast through the forest on the English side of the border provides a fitting climax to the event before the return to the racecourse for the champagne spray finish celebrations.
Clerk of the Course Graham Hopewell is excited to introduce the new changes to the rally for this year.
“We are delighted to reveal our new look for the Phil Price Memorial Woodpecker Rally this September and believe that it creates one of the most exciting formats for many years,” he says.
“With some of the Radnor complex unavailable we have been working hard in the background to come up with an alternative approach and this new route utilises some Woodpecker classics as well as world-class stages across the region. It’s important for events to keep evolving whilst retaining some characteristics that are key to its success and we believe we have done just that this year. It’s an exciting phase of the Woodpecker Rally’s history and we would like to thank to continued support of our sponsors Presteigne Tyre Services and Phil Price Rally School”.
The event was renamed in 2022 in memory of the highly regarded rally driver and coach Phil Price, who sadly passed away in 2021 and will once again welcome a variety of top-line championships, including the Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship, the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Rally Championship, Seacon UK English Rally Championship, IPS Paints Rally Challenge, ANWCC Forest Stage Rally Championship and HRCR Stage Masters Rally Challenge.
More information on the event will be released in the coming weeks and can be found on the event website www.woodpecker-rally.co.uk
The latest updates can be found on the event’s social media feeds.