24 June 2019


Local rally champion Jason Pritchard to contest Builth Wells-based Nicky Grist Stages in Historic Ford Escort Mk2


Builth Wells champion rally driver Jason Pritchard will contest his home forestry event, the Nicky Grist Stages, for the first time on Saturday 13 July in his North Road Garage-backed Ford Escort RS1800.


Having won the MSA British Historic Rally Championship title for a record three times in a row (2015, ’16 and ’17), this will be the first time that Pritchard has competed against the Historic crews in the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series. So competitive is the Historic section this year that class leader George Lepley (Hillman Avenger) is also lying third in the overall BTRDA Series drivers’ points table!


Co-driven by Phil Clarke, Pritchard is contesting the Nicky Grist Stages as part of his on-going preparations for another attempt at this winter’s Roger Albert Clark Rally. He’s done that event twice before, and after a broken half-shaft ruined a one minute lead, the talented 31-year old driver is aiming to win the November classic for the first time this year.


Originally built in 1980, Pritchard’s RS1800 has a rich motorsport history, even in the modern era of top-flight Historic rallying. Gwyndaf Evans won the Roger Albert Clark Rally in the car in 2011, the same year Stig Blomqvist drove it to victory on the Colin McRae Historic Forest Stages Rally and then Petter Solberg drove it on a demonstration event in Norway, before Pritchard acquired it.


Technical checks on the eve of the Nicky Grist Stages will take place at North Road Garage in Llanelwedd, meaning that Pritchard won’t even have to miss any hours in work that day, as he works at the family's Toyota dealership as Sales Manager.


Jason Pritchard said: “It’s great to support my local forest rally, especially as it’s coming into the centre of Builth Wells this year, and I’m really looking forward to contesting the Nicky Grist Stages for the first time. Getting some good seat time in the Escort Mk2 is the most important thing as we prepare for the Roger Albert Clark Rally later in the year, but of course we want to be competitive, do our best and put on a good show for the spectators. I’ve never rallied against the crews in the Historic BTRDA Rally Series before, but it looks to be extremely competitive and the pace will undoubtedly be very hot. Hopefully a clean run on the Nicky Grist Stages will set us up nicely for a good performance on the Roger Albert Clark Rally – and if we can win that for the first time later in the year, it will be another box on the Bucket List ticked off!”


This year’s Quinton MC-organised Nicky Grist Stages contains eight stages (four repeated) totalling 43 stage miles in the classic Mid-Wales forests of Crychan, Halfway, Monument and Llyn Login, situated in the stunning Carmarthenshire-Powys border area.


The hub of the event will move into the centre of Builth Wells for the first time, with the Rally Headquarters located at the stunning Strand Hall on Strand Street, the Start and Finish ceremonies in Groe Park, on the banks of the River Wye, and the Service Area situated on the Builth Wells RFC pitch, a stone’s throw away from the town’s main high street, which is full of magnificent independent cafes and shops.


Following the success of last year, competitors in the 1400, Rally First and H1/2 Historic classes will once again run first on the road in the first batch of cars in reverse order, followed by the rest of the field in a second batch, running in number order.


Regulations and entry forms are available in the Competitors’ section of www.nickygriststages.co.uk


 


23 May 2019


Nicky Grist gives a personal insight into this year’s ‘super-smooth’ Nicky Grist Stages forest rally route


This year’s Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 13 July) is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of title sponsorship support from Nicky Grist Motorsports – and the man himself has been a vital component in the event’s success over the years, both in terms of backing and his invaluable guidance on planning the route and timetable from a competitor’s point of view.


And Nicky says that this year’s Quinton MC-organised event, which contains eight stages (four repeated) totalling 43 stage miles in the classic Mid-Wales forest stages in the Carmarthenshire-Powys border area, will be one of the best – as the stages are in super-smooth condition.


Nicky Grist said: “This year’s Nicky Grist Stages has a fantastic opening stage, Crychan. At just over nine miles, it’s the longest stage of the event and one of the longest in the BTRDA Series, and competitors aiming for a good result will need to go hard and fast from the very beginning. As it’s the only rally that will use Crychan this year, the road is in excellent condition. It’s a stage were drivers and co-drivers can really get their teeth into, as the road is super-smooth. There is a lot of variety too, with many junctions, twisty sections and some fast and flowing sections. It’s a gem of a Mid-Wales stage, one of the best stages you can find, and like all the stages competitors get to do it twice, as it’s repeated in the afternoon.


“Next up is Halfway. All the forestry stages in and around the Epynt military range have a similar feel, but all have their own very subtle characteristics, and Halfway is no exception. It’s a shorter stage, but there is plenty to keep crews focused and there are opportunities to make up time, and lose time if you’re not careful.


“The Monument stage returns for the first time since 2017. We like to change the route and give competitors something a little different each year, so this classic gravel Epynt stage returns while Route 60 is being re-surfaced. This stage is rarely used and is in magnificent condition.


“The fourth and final stage on the loop is Llyn Login. This was used on the event for the first time last year, and is back by popular demand. The great majority of the stage will be run in the opposite direction, making it a brand new challenge for crews. It finishes on the eastern side of the ranges, so from there it’s a short drop down into Builth Wells for midday service – before all four stages are repeated in the afternoon.


“I’m also delighted that the event is moving lock, stock and barrel into the centre of Builth Wells. The Royal Welsh Showground has served us well over the years, but it’s meant that the event has always been a bit hidden away from people. With the support of Builth Wells Town Council and Powys County Council, Rally Headquarters has moved into the fabulous Strand Hall in Strand Street, the Start, Finish and Service Area is located at the Builth Wells RFC in Groe Park, the trailer park and a re-fuelling zone will be at the town’s Cattle Market car park and Scrutineering will be at North Road Garage. In terms of promotion and visibility, all these developments takes the event to another level, which can only be of greater benefit to rally crews, rally sponsors and the businesses and people of Builth Wells. It’s a real win-win situation.”


This will be the 32nd consecutive year that the Nicky Grist Stages will host a round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series. The event will count towards the BTRDA Gold Star, BTRDA Silver Star, BTRDA Production Cup, BTRDA 1400, BTRDA Rally First, BTRDA Historic Cup, BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and the Fiesta ST Trophy, plus the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the HRCR Stage Masters Challenge.


Following the success of last year, competitors in the 1400, Rally First and H1/2 Historic classes will once again run first on the road in the first batch of cars in reverse order, followed by the rest of the field in a second batch, running in number order.


 


 


20 May 2019


North Road Garage provides state-of-the-art scrutineering facilities for the Nicky Grist Stages


North Road Garage, a company synonymous with both the motor industry in Mid-Wales and with national rallying, will provide state-of-the-art scrutineering facilities for this year’s Nicky Grist Stages – which takes place on Saturday 13 July.


The Toyota dealership, which is situated in a prime position on the A470/A483 roundabout on the outskirts of Builth Wells, has very kindly offered its pristine workshop for the event’s technical and safety checks, which will be carried out on the eve of the rally (on the afternoon of Friday 12 July). A one-way system will operate to allow an easy flow in and out of the workshop, while the building will provide competitors and scrutineers with first-class operating facilities.


It’s not the first time a high-profile motorsports event has used North Road Garage for such an occasion, as it was the scrutineering venue for the 2011 Wales Rally GB.


North Road Garage is owned by Eian Pritchard and his wife Helen. The company has been based in Builth Wells since 1972, when Eian’s parents ran it as a petrol station. Eian was training to be a motor technician at Newtown College when, in May 1977, his father sadly passed away. Aged just 19, Eian immediately left college to help his mother run the garage, and began offering customers vehicle repairs and servicing.


In April 1984 Eian and Helen bought North Road Garage and started buying and selling used cars. In 1989, the old site was redeveloped and in December 1992 North Road Garage took on the Toyota franchise selling new and used cars. During this period, from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties, North Road Garage also used to buy, sell and rent out rally cars, with many customers scoring event and championship victories. It still buys and sells the odd rally car, in addition to normal car sales.


In October 2007 North Road Garage moved into new purpose-built state-of-the-art premises to accommodate new Toyota franchise requirements. This is where North Road Garage is based today, and the busy operation employs 15 people.


Renowned for having an exceptionally high quality of service and aftersales care, Eian is also extremely well known in rallying – and has, over the years, won many national Tarmac events as a driver. Running North Road Garage has meant that he has mainly tackled individual events and has been unable to contest many full championships, although Eian did finish second in the 1988 Motoring News National Tarmac Rally Championship in the famous ex-Roger Clark (POO 505R) Group 4 Escort. He also finished second in the same series in 2004, driving a Group A Subaru Impreza. He most recently won the Historic section and finished 11th overall on the Dixies Challenge Rally, driving a Ford Escort RS1800 – which was his first rally in twelve months!


Eian’s son Jason Pritchard also works at North Road Garage. After finishing his GCSEs at school, Jason attended the Toyota Academy to train as a motor technician and has worked his way up through the business to become Sales Manager. He worked in the workshop for a number of years and also maintained the rally cars and has built a number of competition cars.


Jason is also a superb rally driver, and has won four major British titles in as many years – a hat-trick of MSA British Historic Rally Championship titles (2015, ’16 and ’17) and the 2018 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship. The reigning champion currently leads the Asphalt series with a perfect score, after winning three out of three rounds in a Ford Focus WRC05. His latest victory on the Manx National Rally equalled Kenny McKinstry’s record of five event wins.


Eian Pritchard, North Road Garage MD, said: “It's a privilege to be able to accommodate the Nicky Grist Stages as a scrutineering venue. We're delighted to help a national rally use our facilities at North Road Garage and we hope it is a successful event for the organisers, competitors and the local town. It's great to have big events such as these come to Builth Wells, as it's extremely beneficial to the local economy in this small town in Mid-Wales. We really do appreciate the event supporting our local businesses and all the teams and spectators this event brings with it.”


Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We are delighted to have access to such fabulous facilities for our scrutineering and look forward to working with Eian, Jason and all those at North Road Garage, which is an iconic name in national rallying. Working with the local businesses in Builth Wells is important to us at Quinton Motor Club and bringing the event into the heart of the town is a major part of our vision for the Nicky Grist Stages going forward.”


This year’s Quinton Motor Club-organised Nicky Grist Stages hosts a round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series for a 32nd consecutive year. The event will count towards the BTRDA Gold Star, BTRDA Silver Star, BTRDA Production Cup, BTRDA 1400, BTRDA Rally First, BTRDA Historic Cup, BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and the Fiesta ST Trophy, plus the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the HRCR Stage Masters Challenge.


Based in the centre of Builth Wells – with Rally Headquarters in Strand Hall (Strand Street) and the Start, Finish and Service Area at the Builth Wells RFC in Groe Park – this year’s route will contain 43 stage miles in Crychan, Halfway, Monument and Llyn Login forests. All eight stages (four stages repeated) will run on both Natural Resources Wales and Ministry of Defence land on the Epynt ranges, in the Carmarthenshire-Powys border area.


Regulations and Entry Forms can be found in the Competitors’ section of this website.


 


 


13 May 2019


Nicky Grist Stages entries open, as 43 stage mile BTRDA and Welsh Championship event route is revealed


Entries are now open for the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 13 July) – with the official event Regulations and Entry Forms published on-line in the Competitors' section of this website.


This year’s Quinton MC-organised event will once again take place in some of Mid-Wales’ most classic forests stages in the Carmarthenshire-Powys border area, with 43 stage miles (and only 80 road miles) in an eight-stage route. The event will run on both Natural Resources Wales and Ministry of Defence land on the Epynt ranges, with the emphasis on giving competitors the best smooth and flowing roads available, great value for money and a no-nonsense, action-packed and well organised event.


The 2019 Nicky Grist Stages is the only rally to use Crychan this year, with a fantastic stage through this famous Welsh forest that’s just over nine miles long. A short test through Halfway forest will be up next, followed by the return of the popular Monument stage and then a revised Llyn Login stage, which will have most of the asphalt section removed and a flying finish where cars will be airborne as they cross the line. The 21.5 stage mile loop will be repeated in the afternoon (following a mid-day service halt in Builth Wells) giving a stunning 43 miles of competition in total. The Route 60 stage is being rested this year as it is undergoing re-surfacing work by the MOD.


Celebrating its tenth year of invaluable support from Nicky Grist Motorsports, the Nicky Grist Stages will host a round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series for a 32nd consecutive year. The event will count towards the BTRDA Gold Star, BTRDA Silver Star, BTRDA Production Cup, BTRDA 1400, BTRDA Rally First, BTRDA Historic Cup, BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and the Fiesta ST Trophy, plus the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the HRCR Stage Masters Challenge.


Last year the Nicky Grist Stages was the first rally in Wales to run under new seeding guidelines – and such was its success and popularity with competitors that this year the 1400, Rally First and H1/2 Historic cars will once again run in the first batch of cars in reverse order, followed by the rest of the field in a second batch, running in number order.


The Nicky Grist Stages will be located in Builth Wells this year, with Rally Headquarters based in Strand Hall (in Strand Street), the Start, Finish and Service Area at the Builth Wells RFC in Groe Park and the trailer park and a re-fuelling zone at the town’s Cattle Market car park.


Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We have worked hard this year to bring competitors and fans what we are confident will be a classic Nicky Grist Stages. The forest roads are in great condition, and they haven’t been used since last year’s event. Moving the rally into the centre of Builth Wells will showcase the event to the local population, and we hope the rally community will support the many local businesses during the event.”


 


 


10 May 2019


Nicky Grist Stages moves to the centre of Builth Wells


This year’s Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 13 July) will move into the centre of Builth Wells, with the Rally Headquarters located at the fully renovated Strand Hall on Strand Street and the Service Area based at the Builth Wells RFC at Groe Park, a stone’s throw away from the town’s main high street.


Organised by Quinton Motor Club (which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year), since 2011 the Nicky Grist Stages has been based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd. In 2017 it moved its ceremonial start to Strand Street and its podium celebrations to Groe Park, on the banks of the River Wye. Such has been the support from local traders, Builth Wells Town Council and Powys Country Council, that the event will now move into the town – with the Start, Finish, Service Area and Rally Headquarters located all within sight of each other.


The trailer park and a re-fuelling zone will be located at the town’s Cattle Market car park, while extra marshals will be brought in to manage the Service In and Out controls, as well as the rally car exit route. Auxiliary service vehicles, officials and media car parking will be located adjacent to the Service Area.


This means that the busy hub of the Nicky Grist Stages will be within sight of Builth Wells’ main high street, which is full of independent coffee shops, cafes, bars, hotels, B&Bs, hardware stores and a multitude of other outlets – meaning that team personnel and all rally visitors will have quick and easy access from the Service Area to everything the town has to offer. The event is working closely with Builth Wells Town Council, the Builth Wells Chamber of Trade and Powys County Council to make sure all the local business opportunities are maximised and all rally personnel are catered for.


The Nicky Grist Stages will begin to set up in Builth Wells on Thursday 11 July, with a site clearance operation returning everything to the way it found it concluding on Sunday 14 July.


The organisers predict a large number of visitors to Builth Wells, as the event hosts a round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series for a 32nd consecutive year – as well as welcoming crews from the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the HRCR Old Stagers Championship.


Jeremy Pugh, Powys County Council Councillor and Chairman of Builth Wells RFC, said: “We are delighted to welcome a major sporting event like the Nicky Grist Stages into the centre of Builth Wells. The extra trade it will bring into the town is exactly what the local businesses need, and it will be a fantastic sight for everyone to enjoy. The rugby pitch sits on a very large grass area that has previously held a wide variety of family events, and it will easily accommodate more than a hundred and forty service crews and rally cars. We are confident that what we have planned together with Quinton Motor Club will be of maximum benefit and minimum inconvenience to the town.”


Gwyn Davies, Builth Wells Deputy Mayor, said: “We are very excited to have the Nicky Grist Stages come into Builth Wells town centre. We are situated in a very beautiful part of the world and on the major north-south link through Wales, so as a town we do well out of tourism and passing trade. To have a big event based on the Groe, within sight of the main high street, will be great for the people and businesses of Builth. We have a new generation of shopkeepers in the town who will be very keen to welcome the Nicky Grist Stages, and we’re looking forward to making this the start of a long-term relationship with the event.”


Jo Jones, owner of The Owls B&B, said: “As a catering business, we personally do well out of the Nicky Grist Stages as we always have rally guests staying at The Owls. This year we are really excited to have the event based at the Groe, as all the businesses on the high street can benefit from the increased trade. Builth is such a lovely little town, a real Mid-Wales gem, full of wonderful independent shops and a real community spirit. It’s lovely to share the town with visitors, who we hope go home happy and tell their friends to come and find us!”


Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “This is a fantastic and exciting move for the event. Crossing the river and bringing the rally to the heart of Builth Wells will showcase the event to the local population and hopefully bring welcome business to the cafes, coffee shops and takeaways. Both the Builth Wells Town Council and Powys County Council have been instrumental in this move and we thank them for all their support and encouragement.”


Regulations and entry forms will be published in the Competitors’ section of www.nickygriststages.co.uk on Monday (13 May).


 


 

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