Buildbase Rally Escort – previewing the 2021 season

The rally motorsport season is ready to roar back into action – and that means Buildbase-sponsored driver, Steve Ellison, is itching to get back behind the wheel.

“It’s a buzz – getting the car going sideways and seeing how fast you can drive in and out of corners!” Steve said, as he prepares for the fifth season driving the Buildbase Rally Escort.

While his day job is in the mobilisation team for Buildbase Supply Chain Solutions – providing on-site branches for building materials within local councils – Steve has been rally driving since the 1980s. In 2015, he built his own rally car – a 1977 Ford Escort Mk2 2ltr – and has competed in historic class races ever since.

The power of the historic car class

“According to the international motorsport regulations, competing in the historic class means the car has to be built to its original specification in the 1970s – which means no power steering, for example,” Steve explained.

Competition-wise, he drives in races staged by the Association of North Western Car Clubs (ANWCC) and Warrington and District Motor Club Stage Rally championships. This pits him against drivers in historic-class vehicles such as the Vauxhall Chevette and Chrysler Sunbeam.

“While there’s a younger generation of drivers, some of the guys have been doing it for 30-40 years. It’s every driver’s dream to compete in the historic class as the cars are so basic and powerful,” Steve said.

Pre-season vehicle checks

Ahead of the rally car season starting in July, Steve has been going through the usual checks on the car, including spark plugs, gearbox, oil changes and checking the suspension and wheels.

“Once you’ve done that, then you know the car is going to be there for you on the day,” Steve added.

And, after a long lay-off because of Covid-19 restrictions on motorsport, he is planning to do a couple of test days to get his reactions going again, build back confidence and review some in-car video to see where he can gain a bit of time in the races to come.

Rally car racing – excitement for drivers and spectators

For anybody who’s never watched a rally car race, they might wonder what the attraction is.

“For the spectators, it’s about the noise, the smell of the engines and seeing the skill of the drivers,” Steve said.

“In the forest meetings, literally all kinds of things can happen – and people remember the sound and watching how these historic cars can perform.

“As a driver, there’s a great camaraderie with your fellow drivers and – once you’re in the car and on the starting line – you’re just raring to go!”

You can see Steve and Buildbase Rally Escort racing this season at:

August: closed roads rally at Three Shires country showground,

October: Cambrian rally, North Wales.

Follow Steve here:

Twitter: @rallyescort

Facebook: Buildbase Rally Escort

You Tube: Steve Ellison