The Famous Woodpecker Stages Rally
The Woodpecker Rally has been running since 1983. The 1983 event was the first forest rally organised by the Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club and started in Kidderminster, using stages in the Wyre Forest never used for rallying before. Opening up new forests for rallying became something of a trend in the early years, as well as selecting the best quality roads available.
The first Woodpeckers were a little nomadic. After the 1983 event, the start was moved to Hartlebury, then to Craven Arms, and Newtown was also used in the early years. In 1988 the rally moved to Ludlow and in 1989 the Woodpecker started from the impressive Ludlow Castle for the first time. The Castle became the event's showpiece and presented one of the most picturesque starts for any rally in the country for a number of years, unfortunately this was lost with the move to a Saturday rally. Ludlow market takes precedence!
The modern Woodpecker has become famous for its smooth flowing stages around Ludlow, most of which are only used once a year on this event. The nearby Haye Park stage is used both in the morning and the afternoon of the rally, while the classic Radnor test poses a formidable challenge as the meat of the event. The Radnor stage can give competitors one of the longest stages used in British club rallying and also allows some flexibility in routes, and can be split into two stages if required.
The rally has also grown considerably in size and reputation over the years. Starting as a modest clubbie attracting 57 starters, some of the past years have seen maximum entries of 180 competitors.
A note about the cars
Most of the cars you see will have been prepared by the drivers themselves, probably with unpaid help from loyal friends. Built in their spare time in garages and lock-ups the length and breadth of the country, hours of blood sweat and tears will have gone into every car. Many thousands of pounds worth of holiday money will have been spent, and much midnight oil burnt. As organisers we would like them all to win - they all deserve to.