Edwards wins closely fought Nicky Grist Stages

Matt Edwards and co-driver Darren Garrod won a very closely fought Nicky Grist Stages in their Swift Group Ford Fiesta R5, after turning a two second deficit at halfway into a 58 second winning margin at the finish. Victory on the Quinton MC organised event sees them take the lead of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series.

The Mayor of Builth Wells, Cllr. Paul McNiffe, flagged the large field away from outside Strand Hall, in the centre of Builth Wells, with two loops of the super-smooth Llyn Login (5.02 miles), Route 60 (5.10 miles), Halfway (5.11 miles) and Crychan (7.25 miles) stages awaiting competitors.

Edwards was immediately in a titanic battle with Tom Cave/James Morgan (Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage R5) as the lead swapped three times in six stages, with just a few seconds separating them as they traded fastest stage times. A big push on the final two stages gave the Llandudno driver what he thought was a 14 second victory, but that winning margin was substantially increased when a very rare co-driving mistake contravened event regulations and saw Cave disqualified from the results.

Luke Francis hurt his back after hitting a big compression at speed on the bridge in Route 60, and then picked up a front puncture on the last stage. Co-driven by John H Roberts, the 2016 event winner was therefore pleased to finish second in his Melvyn Evans Motorsport-tuned Ford Fiesta WRC to keep his Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship title hopes alive.

Rory Young’s first attempt at the Nicky Grist Stages resulted in an excellent third place finish overall. Co-driven by Allan Cathers, he recovered from two overshoots on SS2 to move from fifth at the midday service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd to a podium finish in his Fiesta R5.

Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson couldn’t repeat last year’s Nicky Grist Stages win after suffering a puncture on SS1 and, more frustratingly, rear differential problems throughout the day, which made their Fiesta WRC very difficult to control. It was amazing they only encountered two spins and did well to finish fourth.

Martyn England/Dawn England enjoyed another great run in their Fiesta R5+, but dropped two places to fifth after sliding off the road on the final stage – which was their only mistake of the day. Former BTRDA Gold Star Champions Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson finished sixth in their Ford Fiesta after struggling to find the right settings to give them the grip and confidence they wished for.

Ian Joel/Graeme Wood were happy with seventh overall and first in class B13 in their Ford Escort Cosworth, while Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy finished first in the Production Cup NR4 class and eighth overall in their Mitsubishi Evo 9. They are now equal on points at the top of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, with only rally wins separating them from Edwards.

Stephen Simpson/Patrick Walsh had to fix and oil pump issue with their Fiesta at service and were pleased to finish ninth overall, while Keith Parry/Eryl Evans survived a big moment on the last stage to complete the top 10 in their Subaru Impreza.

Class winners included Sam and Liam Johnson (RF1.4 – SEAT Arosa), Guy Butler/Jamie Mactavish (RF2.0 – Toyota Corolla), Chris Powell/Jim Lewis (1400S – Talbot Sunbeam), Joe and Michael Evett (1400C – MG ZR), Baz Jordan/Paul Wakey (H1/2 – Hillman Avenger), Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard (H3 – Escort RS), Zac Hughes/Tom Wood (N3 – Fiesta ST), Max Utting/Mike Ainsworth (B11 – Fiesta ST Max) and Allan McDowall/Gavin Heseltine (Escort Mk3). George Lepley/Tom Woodburn won the B10/R2 class and in doing so clinched the BTRDA Rally R2 Cup title in their Fiesta ST, while Geoff Cottrill (Mitsubishi Evo 9) and Abi Haycock (Escort Mk2) were the top placed Quinton MC driver and co-driver respectively.

Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence were hoping for a good result in their Mitsubishi Evo 9, but they punctured a tyre in Route 60 in the morning and again right at the start of the same stage when it was repeated in afternoon, dropping them to 35th at the finish.

Tom Llewellin, the 17-year old son of double British Rally Championship Dai Llewellin, enjoyed an excellent first gravel rally. Together with Dale Bowen, he finished fourth in the B10/R2 class, only missing out on a podium after hitting a bump on SS6 and suffering a loss of power when it upset the ECU connection on his Peter Gwynne Motorsport Suzuki Swift. He still finished a magnificent 46th overall, out of 113 starters.

There were 40 non-finishers. Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge rolled their Ford Fiesta on SS4, Layton Waters/Tudor Jenkins broke the differential on their Proton Satria on SS1 and Bob Morgan/Adie Williams suffered a fuel tank leak with their Winner Garage ŠKODA Fabia vRS. Emma Morrisson started first on the road in her first rally as a driver, but a snapped wishbone in her VW Lupo GTi on SS1 forced her and co-driver Jon Quintrell into retirement. Fancied 1400 runners Perry Gardener/Steve Link (Vauxhall Nova) and Steve Black/Paul Morris (Suzuki Swift) both retired with engine related problems, while Steffan and Claire Williams (Nissan Micra) went off on SS2.

Dylan Davies/Llion Williams continue to lead the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, despite retiring their smart self-built Subaru Impreza when a ball joint broke on the penultimate stage. They are, however, now tied on points with Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe, who finished 13th overall in their Impreza N12b.

Matt Edwards said: “We made a steady start but soon got back into the rhythm and took a pair of fastest stage times before being caught up in dust on stage four, after the car in front of us unfortunately spun. We decided to have a go and push hard to see what we could do in the afternoon, and with our Pirelli K4s hanging on well, we were able to set some good times on the following stages to take a twelve second lead into the final stage. Again dust was causing us some issues throughout, but our pace on the clear sections was enough to limit the damage and take victory! The stages were fantastic, loose in places but that adds to the challenge, and well done and thanks to the organisers for running a slick event despite the heat.”

Cllr. Paul McNiffe, Builth Wells Mayor, said: “It’s the second time I’ve been involved with the Nicky Grist Stages – last year as Deputy Mayor and this time as Mayor, and it’s great to see the event come into the town centre and for the people of Builth Wells to come out and see the rally cars and drivers. The start ceremony outside Strand Hall and the finish in Groe Park, on the banks of the River Wye, show what a beautiful place Builth Wells is, and it’s another major event for the town. Having flagged the cars away, I went up to the Epynt stages to watch the cars in action and saw many people from Builth Wells who were enjoying the rally, so hopefully the Nicky Grist Stages will come back to Builth Wells next year.”

Nicky Grist said: “What a great weekend – close competition, wonderful weather and a nice breeze that helped to clear the dust away. The pace at the front of the rally was fierce, with Matt Edwards showing his class with some stunning stage times in the afternoon to win the event comfortably. Many thanks to Neil Cross, the Clerk of the Course, to Quinton Motor Club and to all the many volunteers without whom we would not have been able to run the rally. See you all next year!”

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Quinton Motor Club would like to congratulate Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod on a fantastic win and all those who finished a tough day of rallying. The event ran very well and we dealt with a few incidents over the day that caused a few delays. We would like to thank our army of volunteers for all their efforts in the hot and dusty conditions. I’d like to thank Nicky Grist for his continued support of the event and for also supplying the much appreciated water to the crews and officials.”

2018 Nicky Grist Stages – top 10 finishers
1. Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (Ford Fiesta R5)….42mins 09secs
2. Luke Francis/John H Roberts (Ford Fiesta WRC)….+58s
3. Rory Young/Allan Cathers (Ford Fiesta R5)….+1m 39s
4. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC)….+1m 47s
5. Martyn England/Dawn England (Fiesta R5+)….+1m 59s
6. Charles Payne/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta)….+2m 22s
7. Ian Joel/Graeme Wood (Ford Escort Cosworth)….+3m 06s
8. Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (Mitsubishi Evo 9)….+3m 15s
9. Stephen Simpson/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta)….+3m 22s
10. Keith Parry/Eryl Evans (Subaru Impreza)….+3m 33s


Over 120 BTRDA and Welsh Rally crews head to Builth Wells for this Saturday’s Nicky Grist Stages

Over 120 crews will contest this Saturday’s Nicky Grist Stages (14 July), with the very best competitors from the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, MRF Fiesta ST Trophy, FMP Rally Challenge and the Swift Shining Stars Rally Series battling it out over 45 classic Welsh forestry stage miles on the Carmarthenshire and Powys border.

The Quinton MC-organised event will be the first in Wales to run to the new split-seeding rules, whereby lower-powered cars will run first on the road and in reserve order (and be eligible for special Mr Tyre (Motorsport) prizes) – followed, after a short gap, by the more powerful four-wheel drive cars. With all four separate stages – Llyn Login, Route 60, Halfway and Crychan – (which are ran twice) in excellent condition, it should be a fantastic event for all.

Tom Cave/James Morgan are seeded at number one in their Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage R5, but it’s Paul Bird/Jack Morton who arrive at the event leading the BTRDA Rally Series, with the Focus WRC driver aiming to score his third win of the 2018 season – and a hat-trick of victories on the Nicky Grist Stages, having won in the same car in 2014 and ‘15. He’ll have a tough fight on his hands against the likes of Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod, who have also won two BTRDA rounds in their Fiesta R5, and Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy who have an excellent finishing record in their Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Last year’s Nicky Grist Stages winners Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson also reappear in their Fiesta WRC, while 2016 event winners Luke Francis/John H Roberts hope their luck will improve this time out in their Fiesta WRC. 2016 Gold Star Champions Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson have repaired their Fiesta following a crash in Kielder, while Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge continue their inaugural season in a similar B14 car. Martyn and Dawn England (Fiesta R5+) were fourth on last year’s Nicky Grist Stages and the rapid husband and wife team return in an attempt to improve on that excellent result. Dylan Davies/Llion Williams will be aiming to extend their lead in the Welsh Rally Championship in their Subaru Impreza.

Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard (Escort) and Tom Coughtrie/Ian Fraser (Mitsubishi Galant VR4) resume their battle in the BTRDA Historic Cup, as will Matthew Baddeley/Yan Griffiths, Guy Butler/TBC (both Toyota Corollas) and Sam and Liam Johnson (SEAT Arosa) in the Rally First category. Zak Hughes/Tom Wood are the top seeded Fiesta ST Trophy competitors, followed by Kalvin Green/Osian Owen and series leaders James Giddings/Sion Cunniff, while George Lepley/Tom Woodburn arrive at the event leading the BTRDA Juniors in their Fiesta R2.

2018 marks the 38th running of Quinton Motor Club’s forest stage rally and the eighth year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports. The event will start from outside Strand Hall (the newly-renovated Edwardian building having been officially opened by HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall just 10 days before) in the centre of Builth Wells at 09.01, when the lower-powered cars will be first away in reserve order, followed by the more powerful four-wheel drive cars.

Crews will head to the brand new 5.02 mile Llyn Login stage, which will be used for rallying for the very first time. Route 60 (5.10 miles), Halfway (5.11 miles) and Crychan (7.25 miles) follow, before mid-day service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd. Then, in the afternoon, the 22.48 mile loop of four stages will be repeated – before the most successful crews will attend the champagne-spraying finish ceremony in Groe Park, on the banks of the River Wye, with the landmark 18th Century bridge in the background. The party atmosphere will be enhanced with local DJ Mark Weller on the decks, together with VIP guests and well-known faces. The finish ceremony will take place from approximately 16.00 onwards.

Spectators are welcome in designated areas with car parks manned by local charities and all monies raised going directly to the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Club. Full spectator information is available at nickygriststages.co.uk.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We are delighted with the depth and quality of the entry for this year’s Nicky Grist Stages. The top twenty is amazing and predicting a winner will be very difficult indeed. The changes in running order have had a very positive impact on the event. To have thirty cars in the first field is incredible, and a positive step to bring back some of the lost competitors.”

2018 Nicky Grist Stages – top 10 seeds
1. Tom Cave/James Morgan….Mitsubishi Mirage R5
2. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson….Ford Fiesta WRC
3. Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod….Ford Fiesta R5
4. Paul Bird/Jack Morton….Ford Focus WRC
5. Luke Francis/John H Roberts….Ford Fiesta WRC
6. Charles Payne/Carl Williamson….Ford Fiesta
7. Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge….Ford Fiesta
8. Rory Young/Allan Cathers….Ford Fiesta R5
9. Martyn England/Dawn England….Ford Fiesta R5+
10. Martin Cairns/Gary McElhinney….Ford Fiesta WRC


Tom Llewellin to make forestry rally debut on the Nicky Grist Stages

The famous Llewellin name will return to the forests of Crychan, Halfway and Route 60 on Saturday 14 July, when Tom Llewellin makes his forestry rally debut on the Nicky Grist Stages, driving a 1.6-litre Suzuki Swift Sport.

Tom, the 17-year old son of double British Rally Champion Dai Llewelin, has rallied for the past three years in the all-asphalt Junior 1000 Championship, winning the last two rallies he did.

He also won the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship title last year, and is driving a Peter Gwynne Motorsport Suzuki in this year’s Swift Sport Rallycross Championship.

Tom will be the third member of the Llewellin family to contest the Nicky Grist Stages – following in the footsteps of his father, who contested the event in the 1980s, and brother Ben (who is an Olympic shooter, who won silver in the Men's skeet at the 2018 Commonwealth Games) who contested the event in 2015 in an Escort Mk2.

Tom Llewellin said: “The Nicky Grist Stages is going to be my first ever forestry rally and I’m really looking forward to it. I did three years in the Junior Championship, but of course that’s all asphalt events. I did score two wins at the end of 2017 at Pembrey and Caerwent, which I was very pleased about, and now it’s time to get into the forests this year. I hope to have a small test before the Nicky Grist, but the Suzuki Swift I drive in the British Rallycross Championship is pretty similar to the car I’ll drive on the rally.

“After the Nicky Grist Stages we’re going to pick and choose what events to do for the rest of the year – go to the rallies we fancy doing and whatever doesn’t clash with the rallycross. I’ve got about four or five events in mind that I’d like to do, but we’ll see how the Nicky Grist goes first.”

Nicky Grist said: “Tom is a seventeen year old driver who is far more advanced than a lot of young drivers of the same age, because he’s had a lot of success in the Junior Championship and in rallycross. He has already proven that he has a lot of car control on both asphalt and gravel surfaces and he has a great opportunity to do his first forestry rally and showcase his potential. I’m sure he’s going to be fast, you can guarantee that, and it will be interesting to see how he takes in all the pace notes, because that is something that is going to be relatively new for him. I’m sure he’ll go well – and I certainly wish him all the very best.”

Organised by Quinton MC, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages takes place over 45 stage miles in the forests of Halfway, Route 60, Crychan and a brand new smooth, fast and flowing stage which has never been used for rallying before.


Operation SNAP in action on the Nicky Grist Stages as rally joins forces with the GoSafe Partnership for a fifth year

The Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July) is proud to continue its association with GoSafe – the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, which is encouraging rally fans to help make Wales’ roads safer by getting involved in Operation SNAP.

The event – which is a round of Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, Fiesta ST Trophy, FMP Rally Challenge and the Swift Shining Stars Rally Series – is also proud to help raise awareness of the Fatal Five, a road safety initiative by the Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The Nicky Grist Stages, GoSafe Partnership and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service came together for a special event, along with Osian Pryce and Nicky Grist, at the GoSafe headquarters this week. Spencer Sport kindly brought a Mitsubishi Mirage R5 to be displayed with GoSafe vehicles, with Team Principal Charlie Jukes and Team Co-ordinator James Morgan also in attendance.

Operation SNAP is a response to increasing submissions of video and photographic evidence relating to driving offences that members of the public have witnessed. Until now, these reports have been submitted to the police in all sorts of ways and so a streamlined on-line process has now been developed to deal with them – dramatically reducing valuable police time by making it easier to collect and assess evidence.

The ‘Stay alive, get to know your Fatal Five’ is an initiative by three Welsh Fire and Rescue Services, in partnership with neighbouring local authorities, Road Safety Wales and the four Welsh Police forces, focussing on the five main causes of fatal road traffic collisions in Wales – which are speeding, driving while impaired with alcohol and/or drugs, use of mobile ‘phones, non-use seat belts or careless driving.

The Quinton MC organised Nicky Grist Stages has an excellent road safety and driving standards record, with no increase in road offences registered in recent years, despite the event contributing to an increase in traffic around rally route. This proves that raising awareness of GoSafe Partnership activity in the area where the rally takes place does have a positive effect, making the roads a safer place for all to be – whether it’s rally traffic or the general public going about their unrelated business. This is why the Nicky Grist Stages is keen for the GoSafe team to maintain its presence at the event, as the association is clearly working extremely well.

Teresa Ciano, Chair of Road Safety Wales and GoSafe – the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership Manager, said: “We have worked with the Nicky Grist Stages now for five years and the vast majority of people who follow this fantastic event obey the rules of the road and drive legally – but we still want to work with the event to get that message out there that the rally is for everyone to enjoy and enjoy safely. This year we have also teamed up with the Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to promote the Fatal Five, and to raise awareness of the five main reasons people die on the roads in Wales. One of those reasons is careless driving, and we want to encourage people to drive safely when they travel to and from the event, and between stages.

“We will also be promoting Operation SNAP during this year’s Nicky Grist Stages, which is a GoSafe initiative that allows members of the public who have captured footage of illegal driving on their dash cams, or from the side of the road on their mobile ‘phones, to take that digital footage and upload it onto gosafe.org. Ultimately, we all want to go out and enjoy ourselves and not be subjected to other people driving irresponsibly. Operation SNAP has been very successful, and it’s the most effective and efficient way of reporting and dealing with motoring offences for the public.”

Nicky Grist said: “The association with GoSafe is a very important one for us at the Nicky Grist Stages, because we can emphasis to the public that we are responsible competitors, officials and spectators. Rally cars tend to be a little bit more noisy and a bit more colourful than your average car, so tend to stand out and sometimes get a little unfair attention on road sections, so this association spreads a good message for other people who are on rally route that we do drive on road sections within the speed limits and that we do obey the rules of the road. Dyfed Powys Police have always been very supportive of rallying and the Nicky Grist Stages has a long and successful relationship with the GoSafe Partnership, and we all benefit from the association.

“I’ve been very lucky to go behind the scenes and look at some of the Operation SNAP footage and I’ve been quite shocked at some of the road offences that have been committed. I drive a lot, and I’ve seen the quality of driving getting worse in recent years. Drivers who drive as badly as some of the ones I’ve seen on Operation SNAP deserve to get booked, because it’s completely irresponsible – so it’s a very good initiative. Operation SNAP will, undoubtedly, make our roads safer.”

Osian Pryce said: “It’s been an eye opener to see what the GoSafe Partnership does and the work that goes on behind the scenes. It’s interesting to see how much effort is going into keeping Welsh roads safe and how Operation SNAP has streamlined the way the police collect and deal with motoring offences that have been captured by motorists on dash cams. It’s not just about raising awareness to rally spectators – competitors use road sections and have to abide by the rules of the road too, and it’s been a very good reminder that speeding or driving irresponsibly is more and more likely to get you into trouble with the police. The Nicky Grist Stages is a big event, contributing to extra traffic on the roads, so it and the GoSafe Partnership go hand-in-hand and it’s a great way for rallying to help promote better, safer, driving.”

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Our relationship with GoSafe is unique within the rallying community and this is something Quinton Motor Club is immensely proud of. Helping to promote initiatives such as Operation SNAP shows that we take road safety very seriously, spreading the message amongst our competitors, officials and spectators alike. Taking this forward we welcome the Fire and Rescue Services and are keen to help promote the Fatal Five initiative too.”



BTRDA Rally Series leader Paul Bird aims for third Nicky Grist Stages victory

Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series leader Paul Bird is aiming to make it three wins this season – and a hat-trick of victories on the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July) – when he contests this year’s event in his Dom Buckley Motorsport/IRS-prepared Ford Focus WRC08.

The Cumbrian driver has won the Nicky Grist Stages twice before, in 2014 and 2015 with Aled Davies co-driving, and in the same Frank Bird Poultry, Be Wiser Insurance, Hager, Fuchs Titan Race and Loco Energy Drink backed car that he’ll drive again next month. Bird is also the Team Owner of the Be Wiser Ducati British Superbike Championship team, and with his rider Shane Byrne side-lined after a big testing crash at Snetterton, it’s now down to Bird himself to win a title for the team. And having won two rallies and finished second twice this season, Bird will arrive at the Nicky Grist Stages 18 points ahead of Russ Thompson in the BTRDA Gold Star Driver standings. Matt Edwards is third in the points table, having also won two events.

Bird will be co-driven by Jack Morton, in what will be their tenth event together since teaming up for the first time on the Pokerstars Rally on the Isle of Man last November. Morton has contested the Nicky Grist Stages twice before, finishing 28th overall in 2015 with Damian Cole in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and 10th overall in 2016 with Tom Preston in a Škoda Fabia R5. Morton, who leads the BTRDA Gold Star Co-driver standings by 17 points, was also a member of the MSA Academy in 2015 and 2016 and worked with co-driver coaches Nicky Grist and Paul Spooner throughout his time at the Academy.

Paul Bird said: “After our wins on the Cambrian and Carlisle Stages rallies, the intention is to make it a third win of the season on the Nicky Grist Stages and to increase our lead in the BTRDA Rally Series. I’ve won the event the last two times I’ve contested it, so I know the stages well and they suit my driving style, so I’m looking forward to it. We have a test beforehand and a few improvements planned for the car also. After my BSB rider Shakey Byrne was ruled out through injury last month, it looks like the onus is on me to deliver a championship this year, so the pressure is on!”

Jack Morton said: “I’ve always enjoyed the Nicky Grist Stages every time I’ve done it, especially Route 60 and Crychan stages. They are so much fun and great to co-drive on. I’m very much looking forward to returning to these areas. We come into the event with a good lead in the championship. One of our nearest rivals, Matt Edwards, also has two wins this year, but we have the better consistency record – but it will be tough, as Matt will have good knowledge and experience of the stages, after he’s competed on the BRC version of the event over the last two years. We will have to be on top of our game to come out on top again, but if we don’t we’ll have to make sure we get another good points haul, as points make prizes! I’m really enjoying my year so far alongside Paul; we are now really starting to gel in the car, as proven by our last two results in Barbados and Carlisle, so I think we can go from strength to strength from now on. Having a great team around us like the Dom Buckley IRS lads, who produce an faultless car every event for us, is only helping us every time. It was also a great experience to be in the MSA Academy, especially as I grew up watching Colin McRae and listening to Nicky’s voice for so many years – it was quite surreal that I was working with him, and that he was my mentor, at the Academy.”

Organised by Quinton MC, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages takes place over 45 stage miles in the forests of Halfway, Route 60, Crychan and a brand new smooth, fast and flowing stage which has never been used for rallying before. The event will be based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, and with up to 180 cars allowed to start the event, it will once again be a major boost for the economy of Builth Wells and the nearby Powys and Carmarthenshire towns and villages.



Nicky Grist Stages raising funds for Tirabad Village Hall, Brecon Rotary Club and Wales Air Ambulance

Spectators visiting the Nicky Grist Stages over the years have helped raise valuable funds for two local charities, the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Club – and the event organiser, Quinton Motor Club, is proud to announce that these fund-raising ventures will continue this year when the event takes place on Saturday 14 July. In addition, the annual collection made at competitors’ signing on, together with a donation from Quinton Motor Club, will also continue, with all proceeds donated to Wales Air Ambulance.

Funds raised by the event have contributed to extensive repairs and renovations to the Tirabad Village Hall – with its members selling event programmes (750 programmes were printed last year, the cost of production generously paid for by Brettex Site Services) and manning car parks. The Hall has also given Nicky Grist Stages officials a warm place to stay and a very early breakfast, as it’s very close to the stages.

Brecon Rotary Club, like all Rotary clubs, brings together dedicated individuals to exchange ideas, build relationships and take action. Rotary is an international organisation with nearly 33,000 clubs worldwide, in 200 countries with 1.2 million members. In Britain and Ireland, there are more than 53,000 men and women who, as members of over 1,830 Rotary clubs, volunteer their time, talents, professional skills and energy to improving the lives of people within their local communities and in those around the world.

Since its launch in 2001, the Wales Air Ambulance has attended a number of incidents involving motorsport competitors across Wales. The charity recently upgraded its fleet of helicopters based in Llanelli, Welshpool and Caernarfon to the latest Airbus Helicopter H145 and now operates an Airbus H135 aircraft from Cardiff Heliport that specialises in adult and paediatric transfers throughout the UK. Thanks to its collaboration with the ‘flying medics’ of the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS), the charity’s helicopters now carry some of the most up to date equipment, drugs and blood products used by any air ambulance service in the UK and are crewed by advanced doctors and Critical Care Practitioners. The next challenge for the charity is to move to a 24/7 operation so that it can continue to deliver advanced medical care during the hours of darkness.

Anthony Jeffreys, Tirabad Village Hall Committee Secretary, said: “Over the past five years the Tirabad Village Hall Committee has been privileged to have been able to raise much needed funds by supporting rally sport on the Epynt hills and surrounding forests. Our income now depends on fundraising, and one of our main event benefactors has been the organisers of the Nicky Grist Stages. It’s been very timely, as the past five years have been particularly tough, as we have had to carry out extensive repairs and renovations to our hall to the tune of £130,000 – a daunting task for such a small isolated community such as Tirabad. However, the improvements made have enabled us to cater for overnight stays, bed, breakfast and evening meals for rally personnel who need that early start, and who appreciate that the Epynt stages are but a few hundred metres from the village hall.”

Owen Hughes, President of Brecon Rotary Club, said: “Over the last three years, by selling programmes at the Nicky Grist Stages, Brecon Rotary Club has raised over £5000, which has been added to our fund and distributed to various local good causes.”

Mark James, Wales Air Ambulance Trustee, said: “The motorsport community has always been very supportive of Wales Air Ambulance, as they know only too well the difficulty in getting advanced medical support to the most rural parts of Wales when it’s most needed. The expansion and enhancement of our service is only possible thanks to the support of individuals and organisations across Wales. I’m personally delighted that the Nicky Grist Stages has donated to us in this way and I hope that relationship will continue into the future.”

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Events like the Nicky Grist Stages rely on the goodwill of the local communities we pass through and we are delighted that we have been able to contribute to three very worthy groups over the last few years. Both Tirabad Village Hall and Brecon Rotary Club take a huge amount of pressure off our shoulders on rally day, knowing that they are there to welcome and direct our spectators is a huge comfort and knowing that the money raised goes back to the heart of the community we pass through is both an honour and a privilege. The one thing we hope we never need to use is the Wales Air Ambulance, but knowing it is there is an important part of the Event Safety Plan and so being able to make a small contribution to its running costs is the least we can do.”



Mr Tyre (Motorsport) offers free tyre rewards for Nicky Grist Stages 1400, H1/2 and BTRDA Rally First competitors

In celebration of the smaller powered cars running first on the road on the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July), Mr Tyre (Motorsport) Ltd will offer a prize of two free tyres to the winners of the 1400cc and H1/2 classes, plus run a prize draw to win two free tyres for the BTRDA Rally First class, on this year’s event.

Mr Tyre (Motorsport) is a multi-brand supplier of quality motorsport tyres and is a UK distributor and dealer for DMACK, Dunlop, Hankook, Maxxis and Yokohama rally tyres. It has always been a great supporter of clubman rallying, and in particular the smaller 1400cc classes, smaller two-wheel drive car class and the smaller historic classes. As this year’s Nicky Grist Stages will be the first rally in Wales to run under new seeding guidelines, which will see smaller powered cars run at the front of the field through the Crychan, Halfway, Route 60 and new north Epynt forest stages, followed by the more powerful four-wheel drive cars in a split-seeding format, Mr Tyre (Motorsport) is offering this great incentive for competitors on the Quinton MC-organised Nicky Grist Stages.

The winners of the 1400cc class and H1/2 class (H1 – Historic Category 1, 2 and 3 cars up to 1600cc and Category 4 cars up to 1400cc, plus H2 – Historic Category 2 and 3 cars with single cam engines over 1600cc and Category 4 cars up to 1600cc) will automatically receive two free tyres as prizes, while all the BTRDA Rally First competitors who have purchased their event tyres from Mr Tyre (Motorsport) will be put into a prize draw with the winning driver, selected at random, receiving two free tyres.

Daniel Jeffs of Mr Tyre (Motorsport) Ltd, said: “Mr Tyre (Motorsport) has always been very supportive of the smaller capacity class categories in rallying, as this is where the rally stars of tomorrow begin their careers. We are extremely happy to support the new seeding rules, which once again allow these cars to run at the front of the field, and we are delighted to offer these prizes as an extra incentive to help attract competitors back to the BTRDA Rally Series, beginning with the Nicky Grist Stages.”

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Attracting the smaller capacity powered cars and crews who have drifted away from the sport due to the seeding rules is very important to us as an event. We are therefore delighted that Mr Tyre (Motorsport) has provided these incentives for the lower powered cars, which will benefit from running at the front of the field, and we hope this will entice some of those crews back out onto the stages.”


Nicky Grist Stages entries open, as BTRDA and Welsh Championship event will be first in Wales to run with relaxed split-field seeding

Entries are now open for the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July) – with the official event Regulations and Entry forms published on-line at nickygriststages.co.uk.

This year’s Quinton MC-organised event will be the only rally to use Halfway and Route 60 this year – while the famous Crychan stage will be in prime condition, as will a brand new smooth, fast and flowing stage, which will be used for rallying for the very first time.

With service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, this year’s event will offer competitors 45 miles of outstanding forest stages in a compact, all-action and no-nonsense route.

The 2018 Nicky Grist Stages will also be the first event in Wales to run under the new seeding guidelines, which sees a relaxation of the current ruling on seeding in the order of anticipated performance. The new ruling, which comes into force on July 1, will allow lower-powered cars like the BTRDA 1400 class and the Rally First Championship competitors to once again run at the front of the field – giving them improved road conditions and quite literally a level playing field on which to compete on. The classes running at the front of the field will be 1400S, 1400C, RF 1.4, RF 1.6, RF 2.0 and H1/2. This seeding system had, in previous years, attracted a large number of competitors, right across the classes.

This year’s Nicky Grist Stages will count towards a number of major championships, including the 2018 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, incorporating 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 MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the Swift Shining Stars Rally Series.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We are extremely happy with the route and format we have created for this year’s Nicky Grist Stages, which will give competitors forty-five classic Welsh forest stage miles, all of which will be in absolutely prime condition. And as event organisers we have done everything possible to keep the entry fee down as low as possible and to give competitors real value for money. We are the only event to use Halfway and Route 60 this year, Crychan is an old favourite and in the best condition we have ever seen, and we are introducing a new smooth, fast and flowing stage, which has never been used for rallying before. We are equally proud to be the first rally in Wales to run to the new relaxed seeded and split-field system, which means the lower-powered cars will start first. There will then be a short gap before the powerful four-wheel drive cars will be flagged away in seeded order, ensuring that every competitor gets an opportunity to compete on equal terms and on like-for-like conditions. We’re very excited by this year’s route and look forward to the event on Saturday 14 July.”



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