This year's running of a popular motorsport event in the region is set to see a revamped format.

The Carlisle Stages Rally will in 2021 run on a planned date of Saturday, October 23, with a number of championships all set to be part of the event.

These include the country's leading historic series - the Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship - as well as the Rally2 Mixed Surface Championships, the Crew 25 Rally Championship and also the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship.

As well as a new date following the coronavirus pandemic, the event format will also see a change with Kielder Castle in Northumberland set to play host to the rally.

“I’m delighted to announce a collaboration between Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust to launch the 2021 Carlisle Stages Rally,” said Clerk of the Course Nicola Heppenstall in a Facebook post.

"It's been a challenging time for our sport but its great to finally be able to press ahead with our plans to offer a compact, cost effective and enjoyable day's motorsport for all those competitors who have been sidelined for almost 18 months."

The all-gravel rally, which has been a popular event for crews across the country in recent seasons, is set to be made up of five stages totalling 43 stage miles.

33 of these miles will be used once, with a compact but busy event set to take place as a result.

The single-use of the majority of the route will also enable the stages to remain in a better condition, ensuring the crews are able to take full advantage of the stages on offer.

“The new partnership has allowed us to make some significant improvements to the event and it is great to bring the Trust and its message to a potentially new audience," added Alex MacLennan, Forestry England Recreation Public Affairs Manager Northumberland.

"Their work in the Kielder area, on and around the dam, Calvert Trust, Kielder Waterside Park and not forgetting Forest England is crucial.

"Of course, this is all part of where we are all able to enjoy our chosen sport."

As well as Kielder Castle being the event base, the nearby Greenside Car Park - located opposite the village's Waterside Park - will be the location for the event's service area.

The Carlisle Stages is a regular fixture on the rallying calendar and has often seen a number of leading names compete in recent seasons.

These include double British Rally champion Matt Edwards, who won the BTRDA section of the event in 2018 in a Ford Fiesta R5, as well as 2019 winner Roger Chilman who took the win in a classic Ford Escort Mk2.

News of the new October date shows a change compared to past seasons, where the event has regularly taken place in the summer on a date in June.

Last year's Carlisle Stages rally was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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