FORMER winners Stephen Petch and Mike Wilkinson are among the 80 crews who will be taking to the forest trails of the South Lakes this Saturday for the latest edition of the Grizedale Stages.

Petch and co-driver Wilkinson took victory on the event in 2016 and are back seeking more glory after finishing third in last year’s 30th anniversary running of the rally.

Among those aiming to deny the Durham Auto Club pair a place on the top step of the podium is last year runner-up, Josh Moffett.

He is joined by new co-driver Keith Moriarty and the pair are the number one seeds for 2018.

Irishman Moffett finished just 22 seconds behind Ollie Mellors and Ian Windress – who are not competing this year – in 2017 with Stephen Thornton reading the pace notes on that occasion, so will be aiming to go one better this time around with Moriarty by his side.

Petch will again face competition from his father Steve and co-driver John Richardson. Like his son, Petch senior is a former winner of the Grizedale Stages and finished fourth as recently as two years ago.

There is plenty of interest from this area too, with organisers Furness District Motor Club having several members taking part in the rally.

Colin Hope and Nick Patrick run their historic Saab 96, while Paul McCann and Barrow co-driver Chris Williams tackle the gravel stages in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth.

Graham Gaskell teams up with Ilkley District Motor Club’s Dave Gibson and Jan Budge is joined by co-driver Bruce Lindsay, with both crews in Subaru Imprezas.

Another all-Furness District pairing is Walter Henderson and Jim Kinlock, who will take on the challenge in their 1993 Ford Escort.

In total the crews will cover 40 miles of off-road stages in Grizedale Forest and around Dunnerdale, with the rally getting underway from Coniston at 9.30am.