Prima Stages Rally 2017
The championship rages on…
The Prima Stages Rally is one of our qualifying rounds of this year’s ASWMC Rally Championship, this is held at Smeatharpe Airfield in Honition. We woke up at a very early 4AM of the day of the Rally, it was a cold, wet & windy morning as we set off, the weather was due to rain all day non stop. For this event we was seeded at car 32, a good seeding for us in the Fiesta MS1. We needed a good amount of points in this Rally to challenge for the championship lead. Our fiesta is far under powered so we would have to be on it from the very start of the event.
Stage 1, the rain poured, the surface was flooded & there was a light mist in the air, very tricky conditions laid ahead. The light went green, we set off. This stage felt good from inside the car considering the conditions all went well, in fact very well as we set an outstanding eighth fastest time against all 71 competitors, this is far from possible but somehow we pulled it off, a great start to our day.
One stage down, Severn to go, Stage 2, same layout as stage 1, all was going well until we came round to the merge & met a car that had just started the stage, unfortunately we got held up for some time. By the time we managed to get past we had lost a lot of time, despite trying our hardest to make up as much as possible throughout the rest of the stage.
Stages 3 & 4, the longest set of stages for the event. After our hold up on stage 2 we once again got held up on stage 3, not loosing as much time but enough. We got our foot down on Stage 4 which was a Clean stage for us, leaving four stages in the afternoon to go. Back in service, the car got cleaned down, the usual service checks were done & everything set for the following stages.
The afternoon went much better for us, the Fiesta was handling the wet conditions without any fault, the tyres where gripping well & the suspension took corner by corner without any moments or drama. After stage 6, we had just two short stages to go & we kept the pace up all the way to the very end. The car was at maximum revs in every gear, the notes being called to me went straight from one to another through the right chicanes & twisty corners, everything was going to plan.
Stage 8, we took another four seconds of our stage 7 time, after all of the teams effort we managed to finish an amazing 22nd overall & 6th in class. In championship terms we finished the event 5th Overall & 1st in the 1600 class scouring us fantastic points! Next the championship heads up country to Wales on the 1st October, then the year ends at Bovington on the 19th of November for the championship final show down.
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STATEMENT FROM SOUTH HAMS MOTOR CLUB
Unfortunately, the committee of the 2017 running of the Stage Rally, 12 Car Rally and
the Autotest events under the banner of ‘Motorsport Carnival at Boconnoc’ on the dates
of August 13th, 11th and 12th respectively have reluctantly decided to cancel the ‘Carnival’
on the grounds of safety. Due to circumstances beyond our control, with the condition
the fields and venue have been left in from a previous event, run by another organisation
and the subsequent weather, plus the forecast of yet more rain to come, we have sadly
been left with no choice but to make this hard decision.
We ask that competitors now bear with us as we endeavour to make contact with them
as soon as possible and the situation regarding fees will be resolved at that point. The
decision is that competitors will get a full refund. Officials will also be contacted.
Further to this, we also ask that trade stands and exhibitors bear with us as we make
contact will all as soon as is possible and the situation regarding fees will be resolved at
that point. The decision is that all will get a full refund.
Spectators who have prepaid for their tickets will also be contacted as soon as is
possible and we ask them to be patient as we go through the list. All will get a full refund.
As a committee we have had extensive discussions with the farmers of the land and the
stewards of the meeting to come to this decision. It was not a decision we wanted to
have to make but unfortunately due to conditions not playing into our hands, with heavy
hearts we have to put the safety of everyone to be involved first.
We hope that you are able to understand the reasons for our decision and that as
competitors, marshals, officials, trade stands, exhibitors and spectators will come back
and support us again in August 2018
3 Counties Rally 18 June.
The 3 Counties Stages would be round 6 of this year's ASWMC Rally Championship.
Chris & Steve are seeded car 30, going into this event leading the championship.
The event had 8 stages in store covering over 50 competitive stage miles. The weather would rise to 25 degrees & over 30+ inside the Rally cars.
As the event got underway Chris & Steve got off to a great start, setting competitive times & holding there own out on the stages.
As the temperature climbed, so did the temperature on the Fiesta's brakes, Chris set off into stage 4 & as the first corner came up it was clear to see the car was not going to stop & the brakes completely failed.
Due to this Chris & Steve had to come off the stage early taking a stage maximum meaning they got given a 5 minute stage penalty.
After every stage after this the team had to bleed the brakes just to keep the car going on the Rally.
Lucky enough, we got to the end, Chris & Steve finished the Rally & still hold the lead of the championship.
Next stop for us is now the Boconnic Rally on August 13th in Cornwall
Abingdon CAR-Nival Rally 2017
Wheeler gains valuable points!
The Abingdon CAR-Nival Rally was held on 11th June in Oxfordshire, this is Round 5 of this 2017 ASWMC Rally Championship.
This is a eight stage Rally with a total of 75 competitive stage miles. The plan for this event would be to finish & claiming good points to move back up the standings.
Stage 1, Chris & Steve got off to a good start with no issues, the stages would see the car's push up to 100MPH, the Fiesta MS1 is not made for the high speed events but the times Chris was setting we're right on the pace that was needed.
During the day Chris & Steve slowly climbed the leader board, with a total of 30 in the 1600cc class we would be sitting in a comfortable 7th place but sitting in 1st place out of the registered crews for points.
The stages are very fast & into each corner hard braking was needed to get the pace off & get through some of the tricky sections. The rear brakes late in the day started to melt as temperatures increased way above 350 degrees, but all was needed was that vital finish.
Stage 6, all was going too well, but the Fiesta came to a halt on stage as the car cut off & started to miss fire, dropping the car down to just two cylinders. With a very rushed 20 minute service the team did what they could to solve the problems with the car, it was going to be down to luck to get the car through the last two stages, just a total of 15 miles to go!
Stage 7, car ran perfectly & was one of our quickest stages of the day! Issues seemed to be fixed, one stage to go!
Stage 8, 5 miles left, the light went green, Chris & Steve floored it & was driving it like they stole it! Counting down them miles, fingers crossed to reach the finish line as the team watched on from back in service. The boys done it! Finished & got up to 6th in class & 1st registered points crew, an amazing result!
Next stop on the calendar is now on the 18th June, in Honiton for the 3 Counties Stages Rally.
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After 10 months and 10 days we are hugely excited to finally announce that our Chris Wheeler Rallying DS3 R3T IS BACK!! There are still a few final things to check over but here it stands today after a long and hard rebuild we finally have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. A MASSIVE thanks to Dad for all of his hard work and never giving up to get this car back where it should be, this took a massive commitment that not a lot of people would have taken on. Many thanks to Creative Sign Solutions for the hard work on the brilliant livery. The future has exciting things in store... See you soon!
Chris & Steve finish the Corinium Stages a respectable 32nd overall
Corinium Stages Rally 28th April
Round 3 of this year's ASWMC Rally Championship would take place in Cirencester for the Corinium Stages Rally. This is a eight stage Rally with a total of 50 stage miles over Down Ampney Airfield.
Going into this event Chris & Steve are both currently 5th in the Championship & hoping to add points to the table.
Stage 1, Chris & Steve got off to a great start setting a good time for their first stage out. The conditions were set to be dry for the day meaning the top end powered cars would have the advantage over the Fiesta MS1.
Over the morning's stages the little Fiesta was certainly on its limits but struggling at this venue due to the very long straights, the car does not have the power for this kind of venue but it did not stop the crew pushing on.
Half way through the team where placed half way in the overall standings so a big push for the afternoons set of four stages would be needed.
Over Stages 5 & 6 Chris suffered with the brakes, they where over heating causing brake fade but still managed to set good times. This brake problem would be one they would suffer from till the end of the day despite bleeding & cooling the brakes down during a 25 minute service.
Chris & Steve managed to get through the remaining stages & climbed up the leader board to finish 32nd Overall & 5th in Class.
We are next out on the 18th of June for the 3 Counties Stages held in Honiton, Devon.
Wheeler increases pace on Round 2 - Bovington Rally
On the 4/5 March the Chris Wheeler Rallying Team headed to Bovington in Dorset for Round 2 of this year's ASWMC Rally Championship, this would be Chris's second Rally back into the sport & now would be the time for Chris to start increasing his pace. The event around Bovington is a fast venue, with lots of flowing corners & long straights as far as a thousand yards, this event would be perfect to get used to the high speeds of Rallying once again. Day 1, the rally would start at 10:30 sharp! The nerves kicked in but all seemed fairly calm, the weather had its moments making the surface slippery.
The main thing to watch out for on this event would be the huge concrete blocks used to stop tanks, keeping away from these would be top priority as these blocks can cause major damage to the cars. The First couple of stages for Chris & co-driver/father Steve Wheeler would be used just to settle down into the event & pick up the pace from there on in, it took a few stages to learn the venue as we have never been to this event before. As the later stages of Saturday came, Chris slowly climbed up the leader board & managed to get ahead of his seeded number which was 55. With just a couple of small moments on the Saturdays Stages Chris & Steve finished day one 49th Overall.
Day 2, another further six stages in store, Chris started day 2 on a mission, the times picked up & Chris climbed the leader board taking chunks of time out of the cars ahead, the Fiesta is very low powered compared to any other competing car at this rally so we all knew getting anywhere would be extremely hard, but with the light weight Fiesta braking later than most & nimble enough to get in & out of the man made chicanes the times where coming. With just a couple of stages to go somehow Chris & Steve got the Fiesta up into the late 30's, this would be an amazing result if the event ended now, but with another two stages to go it was still all to play for! Chris & Steve had a total of 7.4 miles to competitive driving to go before they reach the event, a big effort was made & with the Fiesta on It's limits the end soon came, this was an amazing achievement finishing this event & we managed to climb into 36th Overall, scoring very good championship points. Out of the crews that are registered for the ASWMC Championship we have now broken into the top 5, holding 5th place against much more powerful cars. Our next event will be the Corinium Stages Rally on the 29th April, make sure you keep up to date on our social media...
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The Brean Stages Rally took place on the 28/29 January, this Rally would be Chris' comeback into the Rally world after the massive accident on the Nicky Grist 100. For the event Chris would be back in his Ford Fiesta MS1 that we used back in 2015. The idea of this event was too boost Chris' confidence back up & to get his mind set right, Chris would be Co-Driven by his Father & Team Manager Steve Wheeler. This would be Steve's first ever event Co-Driving so the whole Rally would be a new experience for both of them.
The weather for the event was awful, the rain poured down all weekend making the stages very greasy especially since this event is a single venue around Brean Caravan park, the roads here get used very little all year round.
Saturday Morning, 8:30AM, we were preparing the car for SS1, as time went by Chris's nerves built but he remained looking calm, this would be a moment of truth to see how Chris would deal being back in a rally car & to see if his pace would build back up over the coming stages.
Stage 1 started for the CWR team at 10:25AM, watching Chris pull off the start line was nerve wracking, but Chris soon got into the swing of things. It took Chris & Steve three to four stages to get going & build the pace up which was expected. But the last two stages on Saturday there was a massive difference in the driving, it looked like Chris had found his old self setting in some good stage times.
After day 1 Chris & Steve was in 65th Overall, this was a great start but Chris knew there was more to give & knew he could climb back up the leader board. As Sunday morning dawned the rain just kept falling harder & harder, but Chris woke up feeling eager to get onto the stages. First Stage started, & it was simply like watching a whole new driver, Chris & Steve stepped up to the challenge & out of no where started to push right back up the leader board, with every stage going by we watched the live stage times come up online. Each stage they climbed from 65th, into the 50's, then into the 40's, & as Stage 11 finished Chris got back to 41st Overall with just one more stage to go. If Chris finished where he is then that would of been more than good enough, but as the last stage happened, the push continued, & what a push it was, at the end of the Rally Chris & Steve finished the 2017 Brean Stages Rally 39th Overall out of 101 crews & 10th in Class out of 28. This was against cars with far more horse power than what our Fiesta MS1 has. This was an amazing achievement, our first event back went very well & Chris's confidence came back just like it never went away.
We would like to say a big thank you Neil and Viv from the Pitcrew Online for joining us at the Brean stages, taking brilliant photos and writing up great articles on our weekend. If you would like to read pitcrew online's articles "A weekend with Chris Wheeler" please click the links below.
Our next event is at the Bovington Stages Rally on the 4/5 March. For updates between events please check out our Facebook page Chris Wheeler Rallying or our Twitter@CWheelerRally