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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Baja GB: New chapter in the history of British motorsport

Recent Baja de France winner Hugh Haines and former British National Rally Champion Graham Middleton are two of the first competitors to enter the inaugural Baja GB, Britain's all-new candidate event for the FIA Baja Championship, which takes place in mid Wales on August 18th-20th.

Caerphilly-based Haines has just returned from beating a strong contingent of European drivers in the punishing Baja de France for the second successive season and will be one of the favourites for success in the three-day Baja GB, which is based in Llandrindod Wells and will be centred around the Radnor forest complex.

Haines intends to drive a powerful Bowler Wildcat, a V8-engined four-wheel drive car which regularly sees action on world famous events such as the Dakar Rally and Moroccan and Tunisian events in North Africa.

Joining Haines on the car entry list will be the experienced Llandrindod Wells driver Graham Middleton, a former winner of the coveted British National Rally Championship and a regular competitor on special stage rallies in the UK. Middleton is keen to show his support for the exciting new Baja event and is hoping to hire a competitive T1 class car for the August showdown.

T1 category vehicles, such as the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution, Nissan Pick-Up and the Volkswagen Race Touareg have dominated long distance events in Africa, South America and the Middle East in recent years and Middleton is hoping to become the very first winner of the Baja GB.

The event is also open to motorcycle and quad entrants and officials at the Baja GB office have now finalised the regulations and opened the entry for enduro and quad riders. Several of Britain's leading Dakar stars and enduro riders have pledged to support this new event and potential entrants are being encouraged to contact the organisers to confirm their entries as soon as possible, with entries due to close on Friday, July 28th.

A major boost to the marketing appeal of the new event is the support from Sky Sports' World Motorsport programme. Pit Lane Productions has agreed to send a film crew to cover the event in detail on behalf of Britain's leading sports network and a comprehensive highlight programme will be shown on the Sky Sports network on several occasions shortly after the event.

"Baja GB is a brand new and exciting entry into Cross-Country rallying and it was obvious that we should support the event at its inception," said World Motorsport's Executive Producer Andrew Marriott of Pit Lane Productions, a veteran of Formula One, DTM and WRC television coverage. "Our programme delves deep into many aspects of world motor sport and we are excited by the prospect of the new Baja GB in Wales and what may develop from this event in the future."

"We have now finalised the route and are working flat out to make sure that all aspects of event safety and logistics are in hand," said Chris Tomley, Chairman of the MSA's Cross-Country Committee and Clerk of the Course for Baja GB 2006.

"Baja GB is a totally new concept. We are starting an exciting new chapter in the history of British motorsport. I ask all competitors to support us as best they can to ensure that we have a successful first event and lay the foundations to a golden future of Baja races and Cross-Country rallying in the UK."

The event will be based at the Montpellier Hotel in Llandrindod Wells and kicks off with a ceremonial start at The Lake in Llandrindod Wells at 19.00 hrs on Friday, August 18th. Two days of competition over a route of 320 kms will follow in the nearby Radnor forest complex, with the inaugural Baja GB finishing at 16.00 hrs on Sunday, August 20th.

The proposed event has the full backing of the Motor Sports Association (MSA), the Forestry Commission Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government and Andrew Davies, the Welsh Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks.

Regulations and entry information for the motorcycle, quad and car categories are available from the Baja GB office, 31 Market Street, Newtown, Powys, Wales, SY16 2PG, Tel: + 44 1686 626641, Fax: + 44 1686 626218, e-mail: [ ]. Regulations and event information can also be downloaded from the official website at [ ].

2006/07/11 I 18:38 CET I Editor: Perkins

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