The MSN Circuit Rally Championship in association with MSVR, featuring the Michelin Cup and the Protyre Challenge is delighted to announce that David Richards, chairman of the UK Motor Sports Association (MSA), will compete on the opening round of the 2018/19 season at Oulton Park for the Neil Howard Stages.
David Richards, one of motorsport’s most successful global figures having founded Prodrive, an internationally successful motorsport and technology company, and now chairman of the MSA, will take his place alongside Graham Coffey in the Ford Fiesta WRC on the Neil Howard Stages in association with Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors.
Marking a return to club rallying for a man synonymous with the sport, it comes as he looks at ways to reinvigorate the sport at a grassroots level. Despite having not competed in a rally for 10 years, it marks a return to the sport that he fell in love with, competing first as a driver before switching to the navigator’s seat, culminating in his crowning achievement as a competitor; navigating Ari Vatanen to the 1981 WRC title aboard a Ford Escort RS1800.
David Richards, chairman of the MSA enthused: “I did a number of single venue events in the early days. The one we used to go to every year was Loton Park in Shropshire. More recently I attended a similar event at Boconnoc House in Cornwall. The idea of using race tracks at a time of year when they aren’t used for motor racing is a superb initiative and one that’s to be applauded. I’m sure it’s fantastic for not only competitors but for the spectators coming along as well.
“It is making great use of a facility that would be dormant in the winter months, while also taking rally cars closer to the general public. It’s an opportunity to expose rallying to a broader audience. I’ve done some vintage and regularity events like the Flying Scotsman with a close friend of mine, but I’m looking forward to Oulton Park. It’s such an obvious thing, to create a championship of single venue events, and one wonders why it hasn’t been done before.”
Now one of MSV’s iconic events, the Neil Howard Stages – which takes place on 3rd November 2018 at Oulton Park – is the opening round of the MSNCRC, one of Britain’s premier stage rallying championships. A firework and bonfire spectacular, the event attracts a stellar entry each year featuring, an array of rallying machinery. Proving popular with competitors and spectators alike since 2012, the event sees competitors compete on the famous Oulton Park tarmac, as well as it’s rally stage and water splash.
Darren Spann, Championship co-ordinator, commented: “It’s fantastic that David Richards has chosen to compete in our Championship. We are absolutely delighted to welcome him to the Neil Howard Stages alongside Graham Coffey and can’t wait to see what they can do together on the stages. We really look forward to giving him a great welcome at our opening round.”
Jack Benyon, Group National Editor at Motorsport News, added: “Since David has taken over the reigns at the MSA, there’s been a real shift of focus back towards grassroots participation, indeed increasing motorsport participation in general. The MSA has long been accused of not having enough people out participating and seeing events up close, no one can accuse David of that as he throws himself in at the deep-end in Cheshire! I’m sure he’ll be blown away by the friendly atmosphere in the service park and the fierce competition on the stages.”
The news of David Richards return to club rallying comes as the Championship enters its fourth year with a revamped Michelin Cup and a brand-new TV deal, proving there is much to look forward to in club motorsport during the 2018-19 season.
The Championship kicks off in November with the Neil Howard Stages at Oulton Park, before heading to Cadwell Park and Knockhill Circuit before Christmas 2018. Resuming in January 2019, the Championship heads to Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Donington Park and Anglesey before returning to Cadwell Park for its finale in April 2019. Full dates are available on the website.
2018-19 MSN Circuit Rally Championship in association with MSVR, feat the Michelin Cup and the Protyre Challenge Calendar
- Rd 1 - 3 November 2018 - Neil Howard Stages in association with Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors, Oulton Park.
- Rd 2 - 18 November 2018 - North Humberside Motor Club Cadwell Park Stages. Cadwell Park.
- Rd 3 - 8-9 December 2018 - Knockhill Stages. Knockhill.
- Rd 4 - 19 January 2019 - Brands Hatch Stages. Brands Hatch.
- Rd 5 - 16 February 2019 - Snetterton Stages. Snetterton.
- Rd 6 - 3 March 2019 - Donington Rally. Donington Park.
- Rd 7 - 17 March 2019 - Lee Holland Rally. Anglesey.
- Rd 8 - 7 April 2019 - Cadwell Stages. Cadwell Park.
*All events subject to MSA approval.
Further details on season four are available from the championship web site www.msnrallychamp.co.uk
- Coffey - SMJ Photography
- Richards – Motorsportimages.com