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2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship – Round 5 – Severn Valley National Rally – Sat 30th May 2009

Round five of the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship makes its first of three successive visits to Wales when competitors converge on the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells for the Severn Valley National Rally.

With regular ANCRO front-runners Steve Perez and Paul Bird away contesting Rally Barbados, and so far, second placed Simon Hughes in the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge also not on the provisional entry list, just six registered crews will do battle on the forest tracks of South East Wales as the championship heads into the second half of the season.

Leading the crews away will be four times ANCRO Champion, Marcus Dodd (Poole), who along with co driver Andrew Bargery (Hove) will be looking for another win to add to their successes on the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally in March and April’s Pirelli Tour of Cumbria in their venerable Hyundai Accent WRC.

If Dodd keeps his nose clean and the car performs to its maximum, as far as ANCRO points are concerned at least, it will be hard for anyone to beat him but that won’t stop the battle for supremacy in the overall standings as well as the Evo Challenge, especially with series leaders Daniel Barry (Enniskerry) and co driver Martin Brady (Nevan) who slotted in a late entry to maintain their challenge.

Indeed, the battle between the Group N cars will be intense with fellow Evo Challenge runners Nik Elsmore (Coleford) and co driver Craig Drew (Bream) squaring off with Owen Murphy (Kilcrea) and Dai Roberts (Carmarthen) and in the various classes, the Subaru Imprezas of Wug and Max Utting (Smallfield) and Trevor Martin (Medstead) and Ray Cleghorn (Chalfont St Peter) will be entertaining.

Another regular crew, Alan Cookson (Saltash) and Julian Wilkinson (Wandsworth) are also having to miss the Midland Manor Motor Club Ltd event but will be back in action on the Pro-Art Signs Swansea Bay Rally in July.

After four rounds, the points table is headed by Daniel Barry ahead of the absent Hughes (Abergele), who are separated by just four points but Dodd is lurking menacingly in third just a point adrift of the Welshman but with the scoring system of a competitor’s best five results from eight rounds counting, the issue of dropped scores is likely to come into play soon.

The Severn Valley National Rally gets underway at 10.00 on Saturday 30th May with around 62 miles of competitive action over seven stages before the finish back at the Royal Welsh Showground at around 17.20.

The Severn Valley National Rally is no different to any other in that it is always looking for more marshals. However, where it does set itself apart is that the organisers go to a great deal of trouble to obtain prizes that ‘money can’t buy’ for their Marshals’ Draw. The list so far includes a tour of the M-Sport facility in Cumbria and a day’s testing with Marcus Dodd and his HPM Motorsport concern. Anyone wishing to marshal on the day should contact the Chief Marshal, Paul Sansom: Tel: 0118 321 8552/07982 233831/ Email: marshals@SevernValleyNational.co.uk.

For full details, including spectator information, go to
www.severnvalleynational.co.uk and for championship positions and other information, visit www.gravelrally.co.uk.

2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship Standings after Round Four

1 Daniel Barry 78
2 Simon Hughes 74
3 Marcus Dodd 73
4 Paul Bird 68
5 Nik Elsmore 67
6 Steve Perez 63
7= Alan Cookson 47
7= Owen Murphy 47
9 Alan Carmichael 43
10 Sean Devine 25

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