M-Sport are delighted to announce the M-Sport Return to Rally Stages – a one-off event taking place in Greystoke Forest on Saturday 22 August 2020. Celebrating all things M-Sport, the entry will be limited to any M‑Sport manufactured Focus or Fiesta, while the event itself will act as an example of how the UK can return to rallying.
Back in March, Greystoke and the Malcolm Wilson Rally marked the last UK gravel event before COVID-19 brought the industry to a standstill. Five months later, and the Cumbrian forest is set to host the return of competition whilst showcasing how club rallying can return safely and responsibly.
Plans came about after M-Sport reached out to Motorsport UK to see how they could help get the industry back up and running as quickly as possible. After a number of brainstorming sessions, a day in Greystoke was organised to produce a series of short films explaining the necessary safety measures and advising event organisers how to best combat the effects of COVID-19.
The M-Sport Stages will showcase these new practices in operation – including the electronic management of information and documentation, socially distanced time controls and the safe recovery of vehicles and crews.
Organised in conjunction with the West Cumbria and Eden Valley Motor Clubs, the event will run six timed stages across 38 competitive miles – all within the confines of Greystoke forest. The service park will also be situated within the forest complex and, although spectators will unfortunately not be permitted, work is afoot to deliver the best of the action to the public.
For the first time in the history of all Greystoke-based events, there will be a recce convoy on Friday evening – reminiscent of the legendary Mille Pistes of the early 1980s – and pacenotes will be available to purchase from former M-Sport co-driver and Greystoke regular Craig Parry.
The event will also be a special one for M-Sport as the entry is limited to 45 M-Sport manufactured cars only. This could include everything from the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta World Rally Cars to the Ford Fiesta ST, S2000, RRC, R1, R2 and R5 as well as the latest Ford Fiesta Rally4 and Ford Fiesta R5 MkII. It will be a showcase of what M-Sport has achieved over the past 20 years – creating an effective ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ with competitive cars across all levels of rallying.
Further information, regulations and special announcements will be issued on the M-Sport website and fans will be able to follow the action and preparations on the company’s social media platforms.
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s so important for the industry to get back rallying. Of course this has to be done in a safe way, and I hope this event reassures organisers and motor clubs that we can go rallying responsibly. Thanks to the West Cumbria and Eden Valley Motor Clubs for the organisation. They deliver quality events time after time with a dedicated group of volunteer marshals, and I’m proud to see them leading the way as the UK returns to rallying. I’m also looking forward to seeing so many M-Sport cars together on the same event. It’s something we’ve not done before, and it will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our success whilst catching up with all of the crews and teams.”
M-Sport Ford Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“It’s been good to work with Motorsport UK over the past few weeks. We all want to see rallying get going again, and this event aims to show how that can be done safely and responsibly. It will be great to see some competition, but also to see our community of customers together at one event. When you think back to the cars we’ve produced over the past 20 years there are some fairly impressive machines on the list, and I’m looking forward to seeing as many of them as possible next month. The more I think about what this event could showcase, the more exciting it becomes.”
Motorsport UK CEO, Hugh Chambers, said:
“We are excited to see Malcolm Wilson and the M-Sport operation get behind the restart of rallying in the UK. We had to patiently wait a little longer to get the sport back up and running again, but since our announcement we have been met with unprecedented support from our community. The August event organised by M-Sport, West Cumbria and Eden Valley Motor Clubs, will be one of our eagerly anticipated first events for this exciting discipline since it resumed and will provide a popular test for some of our competitors. I would also like to personally thank Malcolm and everyone at M‑Sport for the use of the facilities in Cumbria and the use of the latest World Rally Car to help us produce the training videos which will be vital to help give our clubs and events confidence to run rallies in the current climate.”