The 180-car spectacular, postponed last year for only the second time in its history due to Covid-19, is acting as a test event for Motorsport UK - the sport’s governing body - as part of the gradual return of rallying to Forestry England land following the pandemic.
And Yorkshire’s biggest motorsport gathering is back, for the first time since 2013, as a round of the UK’s premier series - the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship - as well as continuing it’s status as a major part of the MRF Tyres BTRDA (clubman’s) and Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championships, plus several other regional series’.
For the fourth successive time the rally is hosted by the East Yorkshire coastal town of Filey, with the ceremonial start and finish along the seafront.
The first cars in the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire and Trackrod Historic Cup will be flagged away by the local Mayoress at 7pm on Friday before a testing timed-to-the-tenth of a second stage in darkness, bar the piercing glare of spotlights, in nearby Dalby Forest.
They then recommence action early on Saturday when they will be joined by the remaining competitors contesting the slightly shorter Trackrod Forest Stages Rally over further timed challenges in Cropton, Gale Rigg, Staindale and Langdale (the longest stage at 13.2 miles), before a potentially decisive daylight stage around the same 11.23 miles of Dalby Forest gravel tracks.
The first cars are expected to cross the finish ramp back along Filey’s Coast Road just after 3pm.
All of the leading contenders for the seven round 2021 British championship are entered and, with no-one yet having won more than one of the previous three rounds, the competition is close.
Chesterfield’s Rhys Yates (1600cc Ford Fiesta) leads the series by just a single point from Osian Pryce (VW Polo R5) with a another Welshman Matt Edwards (VW Polo R5) a further 11 points further back.
It’s a similar scenario in the British Junior Championship, for drivers under 26 in slightly less powerful cars, where again no-one has won more than one round, with Ireland’s Eammon Kelly topping the leaderboard in a 998cc turbocharged Ford Fiesta Rally4.
With the Historic Cup and popular Landrover Challenge running alongside the main 56-mile event and a wide variety of cars contesting Saturday’s slightly shorter Trackrod Forest Stages, there a colourful and diverse array of vehicles on show over the weekend and spectators are welcome at the start and finish (free), as well as special spectator stage areas set up in Dalby (two) and Cropton, which will be well signed.