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HISTORY OF THE RALLY

Organised by Quinton Motor Club, the Nicky Grist Stages has a rich history dating back to 1980, when the event ran in the Welsh forests for the first time. Since then, it has recorded many significant milestones – like in 1985, when Malcolm Wilson gave the Metro 6R4 its first rally win – and is proud to have won the prestigious BTRDA Gold Star ‘Rally of the Year’ award five times.This page contain some of the highlights from the last 40 years, plus a list of all the past winners.
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
1980
Quinton Motor Club, which was established in 1960, was given a forest allocation in 1980, following many years of organising successful road and stage rallies, including a stage rally over Epynt in 1975. A full entry of 90 crews tackled a 35 mile event in a very icy Radnor forest for an entry fee of just £42! Alan Edwards/Derek Morgan were declared the winners by 18 seconds from Richard Iliffe, both driving Ford Escort RS2000s.
1981
1981 saw the event run 35 miles of stages in the Royal Forest of Dean with sponsorship from Nicolet Instruments Ltd for the first time. This was a big logistical undertaking, as 486 letters had to be posted to local residence and the milkman had to be encouraged to take a different route on the morning of the event! The event, entitled the Nicolet Stages Rally, started in Gloucester, finished in Monmouth and attracted 115 crews. The entry list was headed by Tony Pond/Mike Nicholson in a works DTV Chevette, although local lad Graham Elsmore took Pat O’Brien of Nicolet along as co-driver, an experience he never forgot, beating Pond to the winner’s spot in their Escort.

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1982
A right of way issue in 1982 saw the availability of Welsh forests reduced, so the event organisers used Ceri forest, complete with an innovative split junction to increase the length of the stage, together with the much small Nantyrhynau and Cefn Vron Hill plantations, which had never been used for rallying before. It proved a great success, with Richard Gough/Eddie Powis winning in an Escort RS1800.

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1983
The with right of way issue unresolved, 1983 was a repeat of the previous year, with Mike Stuart/Alistair Roberts beating a full entry of 75 cars to win in their Ford Escort DR3 (which was a front-wheel drive Escort Mk3 converted to rear-wheel drive).

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1984
As the RAC Rally did not use Hafren forest in 1984, Quinton Motor Club were offered the jewel in the Welsh forest rallying crown for its event – which it immediately snapped up! Having had to use a split junction in the small Ceri forest for the previous two years, the Nicolet Stages Rally could now stretch its legs with three different seven mile stages through the mighty Hafren complex. 95 crews started the 42 stage mile event, which was won by Alec Cannon/Jon Savage in a hired Opel Ascona 400, thus broking the Escort domination.
1985
The event was on the move again in 1985 – this time to North Wales and the forests of Penmachno and Clocaenog. Malcolm Wilson, driving a Computervision Metro 6R4 for the first time, brought out the spectators in their hordes and won the event by three minutes – which was the Metro 6R4’s first rally victory. Co-driven by Nigel Harris, it was a pre-event test for the RAC Rally and Malcolm wrote in a magazine column: ‘I have to say that the Nicolet was a really excellent rally; I was really impressed with the way the organisers worked. The Clerk of the Course asked Nigel at the finish how the rally could be improved, but there was not really much that Nigel could think of, and he can be a critical so-and-so at times!

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1986
1986 saw the event move from early November to August and used the Sarnau and Ceri forests. Based in Llandrindod Wells, the event was won by Chris Mellors/Harold White in a Ford Sierra Cosworth, the first outright victory for that type of car.

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1987
In 1987, the BTRDA Clubmans’ Championship was reborn and the event was invited to be a round of this popular series. Using the same forests as in the previous year, Ian Roberton/Ron Hill beat off the challenge of the mighty four-wheel drive Metro 6R4s to score victory in his rear-wheel drive Nissan 240RS.

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1988
1988 saw the event run for the last time with Nicolet as sponsors and a move to the more southerly forests of Crychan and Esgair Dafydd, along with Sarnau. Ian Roberton/Ron Hill came back and defended their title in fine style, winning the event for the second year running in their Nissan 240RS.

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1989
In 1989 the event was sponsored by Competition Car Magazine and used the same forests as in 1988. Rob Lawrence’s win in his Metro 6R4 was all the sweeter as he was a Quinton Motor Club member! Furthermore, his co-driver, Pete Bowles, was subsequently to later become the event’s Clerk of the Course for a number of years.

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1990
1990 was the first year that the event ran in the BTRDA Gold Star Championship, and to put on a more challenging event, befitting its new status, the event replaced Esgair Dafydd and Sarnau with much longer stages in Brechfa and Caio forests (which had a nine mile stage, in prime condition). The event was a huge success and was won by Stewart Robinson/Lawrence Clark in a Metro 6R4.

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1991
The route remained the same for 1991, although the event had a new name, the Quinton Stages Rally, after two years of sponsorship from Competition Car Magazine came to an end when the magazine closed. The event was won by Ian Roberton/Ron Hill in a Ford Sierra Cosworth 4×4.

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1992
In 1992 another Sierra Cosworth was victorious, this time driven by Brian Bell, having been near the top of the leaderboard from early in the day.

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1993
Brian Bell returned in 1993, once again co-driven by Phil Mills, and successfully regained the winner’s spot in an event which contained the Caeo stage – a brand new addition to forest stage rallying and much enjoyed by the competitors.

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1994
1994 saw many of the early runners go off the road at the same bend in Crychan forest, but in a field of 160 starters Mark Perrott/Gary Mansell finally won the event by less than a minute, beating Quinton regular Jon Ballinger.

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1995
In 1995, Andy Burton was leading in the fabulous Alfa-Ferrari until the last stage when the car slid off the road, giving a surprise but well-deserved victory to long-time Quinton regular Richard York (co-driven by Nigel Bayliss) in his Escort G3. Ricky Evans, co-driven by Ian Butcher, one of the founders of the Quinton Stages and a former event Deputy Clerk of the Course, wrapped up the Gold Star Championship on this event with yet another clear victory. The event was a huge success, and was voted the BTRDA ‘Rally of the Year’ for the first time.

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1996
In 1996, Andy Burton brought out the Alfa-Ferrari for possibly its last appearance and made up for his mishap the previous year by winning outright. Co-driven by Rob Morgan, it was a very popular victory with the spectators and many followers.

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1997
1997 saw Warren Philliskirk, co-driven by Eurig Evans, taking top honours in the Open class. They didn’t have it all their own way, only beating Jim Carty/Ken Bills, also in a MG Metro 6R4, by 34 seconds. Pete Littler/Chris Jones took the Gold Star Championship in a Vauxhall Astra, from Phil Morgan/Dave Taylor in a Peugeot 306 S16 by 48 seconds.

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1998
1998 saw the return of Andrew Burton, again co-driven by Rob Morgan, to the top step of the podium as they took the overall title in their spectacular Peugeot 306 Special.

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1999
The 1999 victor was Gary Smith, co-driven by Phil Clarke, taking their Escort Cosworth around in style to take the overall title and their first-ever outright win. Martin Meadows took the F2 title in his Proton Compact SRi.

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2000
The 2000 event was a very popular one that was well received by all the competitors. The event finished at the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells, where a well-attended awards’ presentation saw honours go, once again, to Andrew Burton and Rob Morgan as they repeated their 1998 victory in the Peugeot 306 Special. Rory Galligan and Jonty Bolsover took the Formula 2 title in their Peugeot 106 GTi.

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2001
2001 was a year of disrupted motorsport, with many events having to be postponed or cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak. The Quinton Stages was no exception, the situation in the Welsh forests leading to the reluctant decision to cancel the event.

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2002
The 2002 event came back with a bang when a full 150-car entry tackled eight stages in the Crychan area. The July heat was matched on the stages with the closest-ever finish in the event’s history. After a fierce day-long battle, 1999 winner Gary Smith, with new co-driver Paul Spooner, won in a Ford Escort, finishing just two seconds ahead of Mick Jones/Andy Morgan.

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2003
In 2003 Barry Johnson came from Scotland to conquer the eight stages in his Subaru Impreza, having never seen them before. The speed of the Scottish Champion was awesome and he and co-driver Stewart Merry dominated from start to finish to win by 55 seconds from Ian Joel, with 2002 runner-up, Mick Jones in third.

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2004
2004 saw a young up-and-coming driver and co-driver, Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin, conquer all in a Ford Focus, Matthew’s father, Malcolm Wilson, who had won the event 19 years earlier in 1985, was there to watch his son keep the family’s winning tradition going.

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2005
In 2005, Andrew Burton (co-driven once again by Rob Morgan), in his self-built Peugeot 306 Cosworth, took the honour of having won more Quinton Stages events that anyone else with another victory, bringing his total of wins to four. The event was awarded the prestigious BTRDA ‘Rally of the Year’ award for a second time.

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2006
The 2006 event was privileged to witness the start of a promising rally career (as it had done two years earlier with Matthew Wilson) when 17-year old Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen became the youngest ever winner of a British national rally in his Ford Focus WRC02, along with co-driver Ola Fløene. This was the first of a number of victories on British events before Andreas moved on to the FIA World Rally Championship, but he retained his connection and membership of Quinton Motor Club, having joined the club to enter the 2006 event.

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2007
2007 saw Andrew Burton record his fifth victory on the Quinton Stages, this time with co-driver Shelley Rogerson, overcoming the challenge from Steve Perez, who almost knocked the front corner off his Focus WRC hitting a bush-obscured rock on Route 60. Damian Cole took second, just three seconds ahead of Will Nicholls, who was finally to take the year’s BTRDA Gold Star Championship. Neil Weaver was in a class of his own taking the 1400cc championship, whilst James Wozencroft took the Silver Star title by an impressive margin. A small field contested the first ever ‘Quinton Forest Experience’ event.
2008
In 2008, Perez secured victory with Quinton member Stephen McCauley in the co-driver’s seat, ahead of Damien Cole, whose tie for second place with Hugh Hunter’s Focus was only resolved by dint of his quicker first stage time. Nevertheless, this was sufficient for Hunter to grasp the lead of the BTRDA Gold Star Championship, which he finally secured later in the season.

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2009
The 2009 event saw a new Clerk of the Course in Neil Cross, having served in that capacity for some years on the Club’s popular Horiba d’Isis Stages Rally at MIRA, with the highly-experienced Ian Butcher as his Deputy and Ian’s wife Susan as Secretary of the Meeting. With Caeo not being available due to logging work, the team devised a compact route, utilising Epynt’s gravel roads and those in the nearby forests.

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2010
Steve Perez (Ford Focus WRC) charged to his second win in 2010 as his rivals succumbed to the pressure on and around the Epynt Ranges. The victory also moved Perez into the lead of the BTRDA Gold Star Championship – a position he was to hold until the year end. After leading the event over the first three stages, Andrew Burton’s iconic Peugeot 306 Cosworth succumbed to engine maladies and his retirement at the end of SS5 took away any real challenge to Perez’s win.

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2011
The 2011 event was called the ‘Nicky Grist Quinton Stages Rally’ signified the increased commitment, involvement – and financial backing – of our Club Vice-President as part of a long-term development plan. A move of HQ back to the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd provided more spacious accommodation and, with both the start and finish controls on the Ranges, a road mileage considerably less than the 45 mile stage distance attracted some 116 starters, who were also intrigued by the Škoda-backed Power Stage initiative on the infamous Route 60 stage.

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2012
In 2012 the event was renamed again to reflect Quinton Motor Club’s continuing appreciation of Nicky’s involvement in the rally, it became the ‘Nicky Grist Stages’. The 2012 event was an outstanding success and was awarded the coveted ‘Bill Turner Trophy’ by the BTRDA Rallies Committee when it was named as the Best Event in the BTRDA Rally Series for the second time in three years. 124 cars started the event which saw Roger Chilman and Bryan Thomas take top honours over 45 miles of gravel stages on and around the Epynt Ranges to refresh their challenge for the 2012 REIS – Get Connected BTRDA Gold Star Championship.

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2013
In very hot and dusty conditions, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton won the 2013 Nicky Grist Stages in their Ford Focus WRC. Thorburn took the lead when Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt stopped their M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 on SS4 when a warning light came on, curtailing their test run. This would have moved Connor McCloskey up to second, had the Irish driver not parked his Impreza on its roof with significant damage.

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2014
Paul Bird/Aled Davies won the 2014 Nicky Grist Stages in a Ford Focus WRC – a mere three seconds ahead of Dave Weston Jnr/Kirsty Riddick after an exciting day long battle for victory. Steve Perez/Paul Spooner came home third, with Stephen Petch/Ian Windress fourth, with the top four covered by just 44 seconds. The tight battle raged from the opening stage, Monument 1, when Bird and Weston posted equal fastest time, with Perez, Bird and Alex Allingham/Chris Williams tied for third place, just six seconds behind. Weston made the lead his own on SS2, Route 60, after Perez brushed against a bridge – an incidence cost him hopes of victory.

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2015
In 2015 Paul Bird won the Nicky Grist Stages for the second time in as many years when he topped a 169 car field. With the Monument, Route 60, Halfway and Crychan forestry stages in outstanding condition, there was a sensational battle for victory, with the morning loop of stages seeing Steve Petch and Charlie Payne (both Ford Fiesta WRCs) setting the fastest time on SS1, Jamie Anderson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) fastest on SS2, Bird fastest on SS3 (to take the lead) and on SS4 to extend his advantage.

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2016
In 2016, the Nicky Grist Stages was invited to host a round of the British Rally Championship, which meant that for the first time it ran as a two day event. The first day contained 45 stage miles in the forests of Crychan, Halfway Route 60 and Monument – and this also hosted rounds of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli Welsh Forest Rally Championship, HRCR Stage Masters Challenge, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, ANWCC Historic Stage Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge – while day two say BRC crews tackle a further 60 miles on asphalt over the Epynt military ranges.

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2017
The event’s relationship with the town of Builth Wells, as well as Powys County Council, was growing, and in 2017 the Nicky Grist Stages closed Strand Street to start the event from outside the magnificent Strand Hall. Welsh international rugby star Scott Williams drove the course opening car, with fellow rugby ace George North and double Olympic medal winning cyclist Becky James there to watch. Once again a round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship for a second time, and the two-day event attracted 147 starters, and was won by Fredrik Åhlin/Torstein Eriksen in a Škoda Fabia R5.

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2018
The event moved back to a one-day forest rally in 2018, counting towards the BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship. A very closely fought event was won by Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod in a Ford Fiesta R5, who turned a two second deficit at halfway into a 58 second winning margin at the finish. 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.

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2019
The Nicky Grist Stages moved into the centre of Builth Wells in 2019, with Rally HQ in Strand Hall, scrutineering at North Road Garage, the Service Area located on the Builth Wells RFC pitch and the start and finish in Groe Park – which proved to be an outstanding success, which earned the event the BTRDA Rally of the Year award. After a fantastic 43 mile route through Crychan, Halfway, Monument and Llyn Login forests, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton won the event by 1 minute and 02 seconds in their Ford Focus WRC to clinch the 2019 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series title.

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RESULTS ARCHIVE

SUBTITLE

You can view detailed results for each year by clicking on the relevant year in the list below. Alternatively, if you just want a list of past winners then you can find that by clicking on the button directly below.

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HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2008

In 2008, Perez secured victory with Quinton member Stephen McCauley in the co-driver’s seat, ahead of Damien Cole, whose tie for second place with Hugh Hunter’s Focus was only resolved by dint of his quicker first stage time. Nevertheless, this was sufficient for Hunter to grasp the lead of the BTRDA Gold Star Championship, which he finally secured later in the season. Neil Weaver led home the 1400cc class in increasingly atrocious and unseasonal conditions, whilst Frank Kelly took another Silver Star title in his Escort, although was actually beaten on time by the historic-spec Escort of Terry Brown and Quinton’s Arwel Jenkins, who were the inaugural winners of the Classic Motor Show Trophy. A large field of Rally First competitors were mentored through the event by sponsor Nicky Grist, while new the Andreas Mikkelsen Trophy was awarded for the first time to Quinton Motor Club members James and Simon McLean.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2009

The 2009 event saw a new Clerk of the Course in Neil Cross, having served in that capacity for some years on the Club’s popular Horiba d’Isis Stages Rally at MIRA, with the highly-experienced Ian Butcher as his Deputy and Ian’s wife Susan as Secretary of the Meeting. With Caeo not being available due to logging work, the team devised a compact route, utilising Epynt’s gravel roads and those in the nearby forests. The format of low road mileage proved popular with competitors and entry numbers were far higher than had been feared with the country in the depths of economic recession. Hugh Hunter was again pipped into second spot, this time by 2007 BTRDA champion Will Nicholls, who was a mere 15 seconds ahead at the finish. The eventual 2009 BTRDA Champion, young hot-shot David Wright, took third in his much less powerful Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9. Popular with the spectators for his dramatic driving style, Henri Grehan took the Silver Star honours, whilst Martyn Lewis took the 1400 class. Terry Brown retained the Classic Motor Show Trophy for the Historics’ class and Yorkshire’s David Bennett dominated the Rally Firsts and was selected by Nicky Grist to receive the Andreas Mikkelsen Trophy.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2010

Steve Perez (Ford Focus WRC) charged to his second win in 2010 as his rivals succumbed to the pressure on and around the Epynt Ranges. The victory also moved Perez into the lead of the BTRDA Gold Star Championship – a position he was to hold until the year end. After leading the event over the first three stages, Andrew Burton’s iconic Peugeot 306 Cosworth succumbed to engine maladies and his retirement at the end of SS5 took away any real challenge to Perez’s win. James Belton’s Impreza took second place ahead of Patrick Naylor’s Group N Mitsubishi. A largely unchanged event organising team had laid on a route very similar to the previous year. However, the first stage of the event took in both Halfway Forest and Route 60, with a road closure allowing crews a competitive crossing of the infamous Dixies. This 11.36 miler really sorted the men from the boys and no less so than in the 1400 class where Matt Edwards established a lead on this stage and sat on it until the finish. He was delighted to lead home both George Thomas and Darren Pinchin.In the Silver Star category, Dylan Davies and Dale Furniss lost what had seemed like certain victory to a puncture on the last stage, leaving the way clear for the Escort of Boyd Kershaw to claim the honours ahead of championship leader (and final winner) Jon Ballinger. Ashley Slights took his third Rally First 1.4 victory in a row, ahead of Dave Town. Phil Pugh, substituting on the day for Nicky Grist, chose Slights and his co-driver Thomas Hughes as ‘Stars of the Day’ and awarded them the Andreas Mikkelsen Trophy. Steven Brown and Paul Stringer took the RF1.0 Class in their Nissan Micra. With Terry Brown away in the Isle of Man, it was left to Ammanford’s Neal James and Kevin Jones in their 1997cc Escort to grasp the Classic Motor Show Trophy for the Historics’ class. Weary but elated crews arrived back at the Llandovery finish, heaping praise on the Quinton organisers for a superb event held in mixed weather conditions over the challenging stages. Further accolades were later laid on Neil and his team, with the event receiving the BTRDA ‘Rally of the Year’ award for a third time.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2011

The 2011 event was called the ‘Nicky Grist Quinton Stages Rally’ signified the increased commitment, involvement – and financial backing – of our Club Vice-President as part of a long-term development plan. A move of HQ back to the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd provided more spacious accommodation and, with both the start and finish controls on the Ranges, a road mileage considerably less than the 45 mile stage distance attracted some 116 starters, who were also intrigued by the Škoda-backed Power Stage initiative on the infamous Route 60 stage. A nail-biting, day-long battle between Charlie Payne’ Ford Focus WRC and Roger Chilman’s Subaru Impreza finally saw the former take victory by a mere eight seconds, but the star of the day was undoubtedly Andy Burton who, with his iconic Peugeot 306 Cosworth making its swan-song appearance before being outlawed due to revisions in the MSA’s technical regulations, grasped the BTRDA Gold Star Championship by taking a carefully calculated third place. A fitting climax to the career of the spectators’ favourite car that had previously won the event on three occasions. 

David Young took Silver Star honours after impressive runs by both Boyd Kershaw and Allan McDowell finally came to nought. High up in the two-wheel drive category as well as winning back the Clarion Events’ Award for the top Historic car was Terry Brown in his Escort RS1800. In the 1400 class, Darren Pinchin’s early charge gave him an impressive lead before an off in Halfway handed victory to Marcel Frieling. However, the former’s recovery to fifth place secured the 2011 Millers Oils Championship. Whilst Dave Town took the overall Rally First award ahead of Chris Hellings in the smaller capacity class, it was Harry Morgan and James Ford who took the Andreas Mikkelsen Trophy as Nicky Grist’s ‘Stars of the Day’. To popular acclaim, they also took the Škoda Power Stage prize. Competitors were full of praise for the organising team’s efforts in producing another highly-successful rally and Nicky Grist’s inspiration in moving things on to an even higher level. Again, the event figured in the top three of the BTRDA’s ‘Rally of the Year’ award considerations.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2012

In 2012 the event was renamed again to reflect Quinton Motor Club’s continuing appreciation of Nicky’s involvement in the rally, it became the ‘Nicky Grist Stages’. The 2012 event was an outstanding success and was awarded the coveted ‘Bill Turner Trophy’ by the BTRDA Rallies Committee when it was named as the Best Event in the BTRDA Rally Series for the second time in three years. 124 cars started the event which saw Roger Chilman and Bryan Thomas take top honours over 45 miles of gravel stages on and around the Epynt Ranges to refresh their challenge for the 2012 REIS – Get Connected BTRDA Gold Star Championship. The Hereford pair established an early lead in their Subaru Impreza WRC S9 over Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank in their Ford Focus WRC03 who suffered a puncture on SS2 from which they were destined not to recover. Despite four fastest stage times from Hunter, Chilman arrived back at the finish in Builth Wells as winner by 17 seconds. Third overall were Ludlow’s Shaun Gardener/Ben Innes, who still retained the lead they had held in the Gold Star Championship before the rally.Yorkshire’s Matthew Robinson and Nigel Hutchinson took victory in the two-wheel drive category in their Escort Mk2, whilst another win in the 1400cc class by Somerset’s Julian Wilkes and Will Rutherford-Child’s Nova clinched victory for them in this category of the championship, with two rounds still to go. Staffordshire’s Patrick Naylor and Ian Lawrence took Group N honours in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and Yorkshire’s Peter Smith and Paul Williams took the Classic Motor Show Trophy as top Historic car in their Ford Escort RS1600. Quinton Motor Club members competing on the Nicky Grist Stages had a day of mixed fortunes. Halesowen’s John Connor was co-driving Wug Utting’s Impreza N12b for the first time and the pair took second in class and 10th overall, with which they were delighted. They were followed home by the Quinton pairing of Paul Walker/Vern Brown who took 11th overall and fourth in class in their Impreza – one of their best finishes to date. The event won the BTRDA and the Pirelli Welsh Forest Rally Championship ‘Rally of the Year’ awards.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2013

In very hot and dusty conditions, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton won the 2013 Nicky Grist Stages in their Ford Focus WRC. Thorburn took the lead when Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt stopped their M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 on SS4 when a warning light came on, curtailing their test run. This would have moved Connor McCloskey up to second, had the Irish driver not parked his Impreza on its roof with significant damage. As Thorburn drove to a relatively untroubled victory, the afternoon saw a magnificent comeback by Charlie Payne (Focus), who moved from 12th to grab second after a storming drive over the final three stages. A thrilling battle for third place saw Sebastian Ling take the final podium place along with Group N honours, two seconds ahead of another Group N Mitsubishi Evo 9 driven by Alex Allingham. The top five was completed by Stephen Petch, after a brace of fastest stage times in his Focus WRC.Julian Wilkes won the 1400cc class in his Vauxhall Nova VXR190, just ahead of Dave Bennett who had also mounted a great comeback after earlier problems. Mat Smith looked set for third, until he had to stop and change a puncture midway through SS5, leaving Darren Pinchin to claim a podium place in his Proton Satria. James West clinched the RF1.4 class in his Volkswagen Lupo and 1400C honours went to the Nova of Freddy Brick. Overall Historic honours went to the Mark 2 Escort of Matthew Robinson, half a minute ahead of Terry Brown, with a class win for Neal James in his Escort.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2014

Paul Bird/Aled Davies won the 2014 Nicky Grist Stages in a Ford Focus WRC – a mere three seconds ahead of Dave Weston Jnr/Kirsty Riddick after an exciting day long battle for victory. Steve Perez/Paul Spooner came home third, with Stephen Petch/Ian Windress fourth, with the top four covered by just 44 seconds. The tight battle raged from the opening stage, Monument 1, when Bird and Weston posted equal fastest time, with Perez, Bird and Alex Allingham/Chris Williams tied for third place, just six seconds behind. Weston made the lead his own on SS2, Route 60, after Perez brushed against a bridge – an incidence cost him hopes of victory. Bird was the fastest driver in the afternoon, taking the lead after the second run through Route 60 and holding it to the finish. Allingham led Group N4 by nine seconds and was mixing times with the World Rally Cars in his 11-year old N10 with a scrapyard engine and was fifth overall when, on the penultimate stage, a ball joint failed. This left Jamie Anderson/Chris Brooks in first place in N4 and sixth overall, a comfortable 49 seconds ahead of Roland Llewellin/Jamie Edwards. It was class B13 that provided the fifth overall spot with Desi Henry/Damien Duffin, 57 seconds ahead of Wayne Sissons/Neil Shanks, both crews piloting Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9s.Neil Matthews had a great event – together with co-driver Jez Rogers, he won the Ravenol Challenge, class B10 and finished 29th overall in his 1600cc Vauxhall Nova. Stewart Reid and Molly Taylor travelled from Australia to contest the event, finishing 36th overall and seventh in class in their H3 Ford Escort Mk2. Two Norwegian crews also made the entry list, Edvall Martin Stenberg and Siw Helen Stenberg won the B11 class with a 25th overall placing and Kim Johansen with Morten Johansen in their Volvo 292. The Volvo unfortunately had its engine fail on SS1. Notable crews to retire from the rally were Mat Smith/Giles Dykes (clutch), Luke Francis/John H Roberts (damage after bridge), Thomas Naughton/Andrew Mort (bridge damage) and Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (bridge damage). Of the 147 starters of the rally, 107 finished.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2015

In 2015 Paul Bird won the Nicky Grist Stages for the second time in as many years when he topped a 169 car field. With the Monument, Route 60, Halfway and Crychan forestry stages in outstanding condition, there was a sensational battle for victory, with the morning loop of stages seeing Steve Petch and Charlie Payne (both Ford Fiesta WRCs) setting the fastest time on SS1, Jamie Anderson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) fastest on SS2, Bird fastest on SS3 (to take the lead) and on SS4 to extend his advantage. Crychan, however, spelt the end of the rally for Wayne Sisson/Neil Shanks who rolled their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10, and Karl and Guy Simmons who suffered a rally ending fire in their Subaru Impreza WRC.The afternoon re-run of stages proved just as exciting, with Euan Thorburn/Richard Cooke setting fastest time on SS5 – and on SS7, despite brake problems in their Ford Focus WRC. But in the end, Bird won the event by 14 seconds, with Dave Weston Jnr and co-driver Kirsty Riddick (who set the fastest time on the final stage in their Subaru Impreza WRC S12B) finishing second and Thorburn a further 14 seconds behind in third. Payne was fourth and Petch fifth. Roland Llewellin/Jamie Edwards crashed their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 out of the Group N lead on the penultimate stage, handing the award to a hard charging Tom Naughton/Andy Mort. The closest of the class battles saw Mike Harris and Steven Davey take class B10 in their Ford Fiesta R5 by just four seconds from the similar car of Rhys Yates/Tom Woodburn. Callum Black/Paul Wakely won the Silver Star category (finishing 19th overall) in their Citroën DS3 R3T Max, while Ashley Slights/Alex Lee were the first 1400cc crew home, winning their class and finishing 30th overall in a Toyota Yaris. 2015 was also the maiden year for the VIP hospitality marquee, provided by our own sponsor Nicky Grist, together with Charlie Jukes of Spencer Sport. 106 guests were treated to the cars travelling right past their viewing area, down and across the valley to the commentary box on the other side, where Howard Davies was giving the spectators his own unique comments on the rally. It proved to be a very successful addition to the rally experience, and something the event developed over the following years.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2016

In 2016, the Nicky Grist Stages was invited to host a round of the British Rally Championship, which meant that for the first time it ran as a two day event. The first day contained 45 stage miles in the forests of Crychan, Halfway Route 60 and Monument – and this also hosted rounds of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli Welsh Forest Rally Championship, HRCR Stage Masters Challenge, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, ANWCC Historic Stage Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge – while day two say BRC crews tackle a further 60 miles on asphalt over the Epynt military ranges. The BRC section was won by Elfyn Evans/Craig Parry in a DMACK British Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5, who spraying the champagne in the event’s new finish location in Groe Park in Builth Wells, on the banks of the River Wye. Tom Cave/James Morgan finished second in a Ford Fiesta R5, while Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan completed the BRC podium in their ŠKODA Fabia R5. Luke Francis/John Roberts won the BTRDA section by over a minute in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta R5+) and Paul Benn/Richard Cooke (Ford Focus WRC02) finished second and third, after strong trouble-free runs. Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh (Ford Focus WRC) led after SS1, only to lose time with steering issues on SS2 and retiring on SS4 with a holed radiator. BTRDA Gold Star leaders Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta) led for a time too, until electrical problems put them out on SS6. 2013 Nicky Grist Stages winners Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Peugeot 208 T16) retired with a cracked manifold. 150 guests enjoyed a VIP day out at a stage-side hospitality marquee, while the event raised money for the Tirabad Village Hall, Brecon Rotary Club and the Welsh Air Ambulance, via collections and donations made during the event, while a pre-event charity auction raised over £1,600 for the Gareth Roberts Fund.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2017

The event’s relationship with the town of Builth Wells, as well as Powys County Council, was growing, and in 2017 the Nicky Grist Stages closed Strand Street to start the event from outside the magnificent Strand Hall. Welsh international rugby star Scott Williams drove the course opening car, with fellow rugby ace George North and double Olympic medal winning cyclist Becky James there to watch. Once again a round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship for a second time, and the two-day event attracted 147 starters, and was won by Fredrik Åhlin/Torstein Eriksen in a Škoda Fabia R5. Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod were second, while fellow Ford Fiesta R5 crew Rhys Yates/Carl Williamson finished third. Osian Pryce/Dale Furniss had led, but a fuel pump problem with their Ford Fiesta R5 forced them out. Callum Devine/Keith Moriarty (Opel Adam R2) won an exciting Junior BRC battle, after the lead changed hands six times. Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson (Peugeot 208 R2) led initially, before a puncture saw them tumble down the order. Norway’s Oscar Solberg/Patrik Barth (Ford Fiesta R2T) seized the advantage before turbo problems intervened. Cameron Davies/Michael Gilbey (Peugeot 208 R2) led overnight, but retired on day two with engine problems.In the battle for Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series points, which was played out over Saturday’s eight gravel stages, it was Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson who took the Nicky Grist Stages victory after a well-judged run in their Ford Fiesta WRC. Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead set six fastest stage times, but lost time when their Ford Fiesta WRC’s rear spoiler came off and then they suffered a puncture. They couldn’t quite make up all the time lost and finished second, just 8.1 seconds behind. Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson also lost time when they overshot a hairpin early on, yet still finished a strong third in their less powerful Ford Fiesta R5+, and scored maximum points in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship. Damian Cole/Den Golding won the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, which was played out over the 12 asphalt stages on Sunday. They showed their class by winning the stand-alone event by a comfortable 1min 48.5secs in their Ford Escort WRC. Black/Edmondson completed a magnificent weekend by scoring maximum points MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship on their first Tarmac event in the R5 car.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2018

The event moved back to a one-day forest rally in 2018, counting towards the BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship. A very closely fought event was won by Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod in a Ford Fiesta R5, who turned a two second deficit at halfway into a 58 second winning margin at the finish. 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. Despite a front puncture, Luke Francis/John H Roberts finished second in their Melvyn Evans Motorsport-tuned Ford Fiesta WRC, while 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 their previous year’s success 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 and 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 WRC after struggling to find the right settings to give them the grip and confidence they wished for.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.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

2019

The Nicky Grist Stages moved into the centre of Builth Wells in 2019, with Rally HQ in Strand Hall, scrutineering at North Road Garage, the Service Area located on the Builth Wells RFC pitch and the start and finish in Groe Park – which proved to be an outstanding success, which earned the event the BTRDA Rally of the Year award. After a fantastic 43 mile route through Crychan, Halfway, Monument and Llyn Login forests, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton won the event by 1 minute and 02 seconds in their Ford Focus WRC to clinch the 2019 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series title. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC) finished second, while Sam Bilham/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta R5) set fastest time on the final stage to clinch the final podium spot, finishing just three seconds ahead of Brendan Cumiskey/Liam Moynihan (Ford Fiesta WRC).Former BTRDA Cup champion Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Mitsubishi Evo 9) finished fifth, with Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (Mitsubishi Evo 9) finishing sixth overall and top-placed Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship crew. Local hero Jason Pritchard made a wrong tyre choice for the first loop and suffered a half spin on SS2 and then went off backwards and into a ditch on SS4. But after that the triple British Historic Rally Champion flew in his North Road Garage-backed Ford Escort RS1800, setting some great times with co-driver Steve McPhee to finish first Historic crew home in 15th place overall. Bobby Mitchell/Shannon Turnbull scored victory in the MRF Fiesta ST Trophy category, Tommi Meadows/Osian Owen won the R2 class and finished an excellent 20th overall in their Fiesta R2, Ireland’s Ruairi Maguire/Grace O’Brien won the B10 class in their Vauxhall Corsa and finished an impressive 30th overall.Other class winners included Andy Davison/Tom Murphy (B11 – Talbot Sunbeam VXR), Owen McMackin/Lee Taylor (B12 – Ford Escort), Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear (B13 – Mitsubishi Evo 9), Hywel Davies/Simon Jones (H1/2 – Ford Escort), George Lepley/Tom Woodburn (H3 – Hillman Avenger) and Tom Coughtrie/Baz Green (H4 – Mitsubishi Galant VR4). Jayne Auden-Row (MG ZR) was the highest placed lady driver in 87th position, Dawn England (Fiesta R5) was the highest placed lady co-driver in 11th, and Steve Deeley/Alan Proudman were the highest placed Quinton MC crew home, finishing 88th overall in their 1.6-litre Peugeot 205 GTi. The event was awarded the prestigious BTRDA ‘Rally of the Year’ award for a fifth time.

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

PAST WINNERS LIST (1980s)

Year
Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle
1980
Allan Edwards
Derek Morgan
Ford Escort RS2000
1981
Graham Elsmore
Pat O’Brien
Ford Escort RS1800
1982
Richard Gough
Eddie Powis
Ford Escort RS1800
1983
Mike Stuart
Alistair Roberts
Ford Escort DR3
1984
Alec Cannon
Jon Savage
Opel Ascona 400
1985
Malcolm Wilson
Nigel Harris
MG Metro 6R4
1986
Chris Mellors
Harold White
Ford Sierra Cosworth
1987
Ian Roberton
Ron Hill
Nissan 240 RS
1988
Ian Roberton
Ron Hill
Nissan 240 RS
1989
Rob Lawrence
Peter Bowles
MG Metro 6R4

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

PAST WINNERS LIST (1990s)

Year
Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle
1990
Stewart Robinson
Lawrence Clark
MG Metro 6R4
1991
Ian Roberton
Ron Hill
Ford Sierra Cosworth 4×4
1992
Brian Bell
Philip Mills
Ford Sierra Cosworth 4×4
1993
Brian Bell
Philip Mills
Ford Escort Cosworth
1994
Mark Perrott
Gary Mansell
Ford Escort Cosworth
1995
Richard York
Nigel Bayliss
Ford Escort G3
1996
Andrew Burton
Rob Morgan
Alfa Ferrari
1997
Warren Philiskirk
Eurig Evans
MG Metro 6R4
1998
Andrew Burton
Rob Morgan
Peugeot 306 Special
1999
Gary Smith
Phil Clarke
Ford Escort Cosworth

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

PAST WINNERS LIST (2000s)

Year
Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle
2000
Andrew Burton
Rob Morgan
Peugeot 306 Cosworth
2001
No Event:
Cancelled due to Foot and Mouth Crisis
2002
Gary Smith
Paul Spooner
Ford Escort
2003
Barry Johnson
Stewart Merry
Subaru Impreza
2004
Matthew Wilson
Scott Martin
Ford Focus
2005
Andrew Burton
Rob Morgan
Peugeot 306 Cosworth
2006
Andreas Mikkelsen
Ola Fløene
Ford Focus WRC
2007
Andrew Burton
Shelley Rogerson
Peugeot Cosworth
2008
Steve Perez
Stephen McAuley
Ford Focus WRC
2009
Will Nicholls
Nick Broom
Subaru Impreza WRC

HISTORY OF THE RALLY

PAST WINNERS LIST (2010s)

Year
Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle
2010
Allan Edwards
Steve Perez
Ford Focus WRC
2011
Charlie Payne
Craig Thorley
Ford Focus WRC
2012
Roger Chilman
Brian Thomas
Subaru Impreza WRC
2013
Euan Thorburn
Paul Beaton
Ford Focus WRC
2014
Paul Bird
Aled Davies
Ford Focus WRC
2015
Paul Bird
Aled Davies
Ford Focus WRC
2016
Luke Francis
John H. Roberts
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
2016
Elfyn Evans
Craig Parry
Ford Fiesta R5 (NGS100)
2017
Stephen Petch
Michael Wilkinson
Ford Fiesta WRC
2017
Fredrik Åhlin
Torstein Eriksen
Skoda Fabia R5 (NGS100)
2017
Damian Cole
Den Golding
Ford Fiesta WRC (Acropolis)
2018
Matt Edwards
Darren Garrod
Ford Fiesta R5
2019
Euan Thorburn
Paul Beaton
Ford Focus WRC