Sunday, 12 August 2018

David Stokes Historic Challenge on the Wyedean Rally 2018

This years Winner Garage Skoda Wyedean Stages will see the Forest of Dean Motor Club pay tribute to the late David Stokes, with the Calico Interiors/Ashmores David Stokes Historic Challenge.
The former Dursley baker passed away in February 2016 after a short illness, after a rallying career spanning over 45 years, he was BTRDA National Rally Champion in 1975, in fact he finished second overall to Graham Elsmore on the very first Wyedean in October 75 his best ever Wyedean finish, other than winning the historic section in 2010, he was then crowned Castrol Autosport Champion in 76 and was a Ford supported driver from then on he formed part of the famous Team Avon Tyres with Graham Elsmore and the late Gordon Batchelor, he was then a strong title contender each year in the Autosport series, until a huge accident on the Gwynedd Rally in 1980 which saw him sustain horrific injuries, he then took a sabbatical to build up his bakery business returning only sporadically for the odd event, until 2002 when his brother Andy persuaded him to return, but it will be the 4 British Historic titles he will be fondly remembered as well has his enthusiasm for the sport he loved.

"David and I were friends for many years, he was one of the old school who rallied in the golden era first time around, but he will never be forgotten and even when he wasn't competing he'd be down to watch the Wyedean with friends, so when we started our Wyedean press days not only would he bring his car to give people rides, but supply all the rolls, bread, cakes for everyone, he was a very good friend to the Motor Club over the years". Said Paul Willetts  

"But there was so much more to David he had so much enthusiasm for rallying and he was the first big name to return to the historic's and raised the bar to make the championship what it is today, his passing left a huge hole that will never ever be filled, so I went to the Wyedean committee with the idea they were fully supportive, so here we are, the idea is to get has many historic crews old and new out as possible to really celebrate David's career in rallying, he loved the whole historic thing, his fellow competitors, organisers marshals, and the spectators loved him with his never say die attitude and sideways driving style,
I would like to thank David's long time co-driver Guy Weaver and Pauline & Brian Nash from Calico for sponsoring the challenge, also  Christophe Jacob, Malcolm Wilson Steve Harkness and Peter Wood for donating items for the draw.
The word legend is easily thrown around today, but David Stokes is a worthy recipient of that accolade ,so we hope to do him proud on November 10th and it would be nice to see his old rivals Graham Elsmore, Terry Brown and Jimmy McRae out on the event as well".
The Challenge will be open to all categories of Historic cars including FIA and every entrant in the challenge will be entered into a prize draw, for a free entry to one of the best tarmac events in Europe, 2019 Salamandre Rally in Belgium, Harkness Competition Tyres offers 2 tyres ,M Sport a trip for 2 to Dovenby Hall, Michelin Tyres team clothing.

Clerk of the course Martyn Walby stated "When Paul come to me with the idea, it was an easy yes let's do it, I got to know David over the years and his enthusiasm for the sport knew no bounds he'd do a rally every day of the week if he could have, and always willing to give advice to others, so we hope his fellow competitors will come and support it".
Stokes former co-driver Guy Weaver said" I had the best years of my rallying career with David, and its a fantastic gesture by the Forest of Dean Motor Club to honour him, he loved the event and guys down there, he had a lot of respect for them, and was always happy to help Paul and Martyn anyway he could."
His former mechanic Wayne "Eric" Ball said" A shining light went out on historic rallying when David died, and this is a wonderful thing to celebrate him, he'd be really chuffed by this and credit to Paul and the club for doing it".
Reigning Historic champion Jason Pritchard said" David was a great character who is very much sadly missed by the whole rallying community, he was a fierce competitor, but great fun and always made you feel welcome".

David's famous championship winning Escort RS1600,is now back in hands of brother Andrew and will be out on the event.
Regulations for the event will be available soon, which will again follow the popular format of the previous two years, but with the route mixed up again with old and new roads introduced.
For all details go to