Never used before gravel stage joins Crychan, Halfway and Route 60 in exciting new Nicky Grist Stages route

This summer’s Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July) will be the only event in 2018 to run on the classic Welsh gravel roads in Halfway and Route 60 – while the Crychan stage is in prime condition and a brand new smooth, fast and flowing stage, which has never been used for rallying before, replaces the rested Monument test.

This year’s Quinton MC-organised event returns to its traditional one-day all-gravel format. The stages will be in excellent condition, as the Army has re-graded parts of the route after recent logging and other sections of the route will not have been used since Rally4Wales re-graded the roads following last year’s rallying.

The much loved and challenging Crychan, Halfway and Route 60 stages will be joined by a brand new five and a half mile stage to the north of the Epynt military range. In total, there will be 45 stage miles.

The event will be based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, and with 180 cars allowed to start the Nicky Grist Stages will once again been a major boost for the economy of Builth Wells and the nearby Powys and Carmarthenshire towns and villages.

This year will celebrate the 38th running of Quinton Motor Club’s forest stage rally and the eighth year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports. It’s also the 31st consecutive year of it hosting a round of the BTRDA Rally Series and therefore the event will play host to 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. The 2018 Nicky Grist Stages is also proud to host a round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the all-new Swift Shining Stars Rally Series.

After a second stint of 10 years, making 24 years in total, Susan Butcher has stepped down from her role as Secretary of the Meeting. Helena Mayall, who for the past two years has been the Entries Secretary, is the new Secretary of the Meeting.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “After two successful years running as a mixed-surface two-day event, we are reverting back to our traditional one-day gravel rally in 2018. We are planning a great event, and using the knowledge gained over the last few years to enhance the reputation of the Nicky Grist Stages. All the stages are in prime condition and are smooth, challenging, fast and flowing. We are the only rally to run in Halfway and Route 60 this year, and we have introduced a brand new five and a half mile stage to the north of the ranges that has never been used for rallying before. That stage replaces the Monument stage, which we are resting for 2018. The route has now been finalised, and we are extremely happy with it – it will be a truly great challenge for competitors come July 14. And on a personal note, Susan’s contribution to the event is unquantifiable and I’d like to thank her for all her efforts over the years.

Nicky Grist said: “A new year, but not exactly a new rally, but we do have a brand new stage that no-one will have used before! Add this to the other three near perfect condition stages in Crychan, Halfway and Route 60, which are some of the best stages in Welsh rallying, and the crews will have a great time. I am delighted to be involved with the event again this year, although I am sad to see Susan leave us. After all the years she has been our Secretary of the Meeting we cannot complain, she has been a tremendous asset to the rally and I would like to thank her for all her hard work and effort over the years. I look forward to seeing you all on the Nicky Grist Stages in July.

Winners from home and abroad celebrate Nicky Grist Stages success in Builth Wells

This year’s Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) proved to be a huge success, with spectators enjoying great weather and spectacular high-speed action, competitors rising magnificently to the challenge of a two-day mixed surface event, the event organisers Quinton MC running an incident-free rally and Builth Wells hosting fantastic town centre start and finish ceremonies.

With three rallies in one and competitors battling for points in 10 different championships, the mid-Wales event attracted 147 starters – all of which were flagged away from outside the magnificent Strand Hall in the heart of Builth Wells on Saturday morning.

Swapping his Wales and Scarlets Rugby shirts for Stilo helmet and P1 Advanced Racewear suit was Scott Williams – who unveiled his new and immaculate Scott Williams Motorsport built Escort, which he drove as course opening car on the Sunday’s asphalt stages. It was a stunning sight and sound enjoyed by all – including fellow Welsh Rugby Union star George North and double Olympic medal winning cyclist Becky James, who were on Epynt to support their good friend.

The importance of the Nicky Grist Stages internationally was highlighted when Sweden’s Fredrik Åhlin and his Norwegian co-driver Torstein Eriksen claimed overall victory in their Škoda Fabia R5. Welsh favourite Osian Pryce had made the most of running first on the road to lead after day one by 19.3 seconds, but a fuel pump problem with his Ford Fiesta R5 side-lined him and co-driver Dale Furniss early on day two. Åhlin took the lead and held onto it superbly, winning the event by 47.5 seconds and retaking the lead in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship.

Llandudno’s Matt Edwards finished an excellent second on his Ford Fiesta R5. Co-driven by Darren Garrod, the result moves him into third in the BRC standings, behind Åhlin and Pryce, with two rallies remaining. Rhys Yates/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta R5) took third place – with the Nicky Grist Stages finish ceremony held in the beautiful Groe Park, on the banks of the River Wye.

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. Irish driver Devine was unstoppable once the event moved onto Tarmac, eventually winning Junior BRC by 18.6 seconds. William Creighton and Liam Regan (Peugeot 208 R2) came home second, with west Wales pair James Williams/Dai Roberts (Fiesta R2T) claiming third.

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+.

Sasha Kakad/James Aldridge won the BTRDA Production Cup category in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 and finished an impressive fifth overall. A misfiring Fiesta R5 led to the retirement of Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg, while another top BTRDA crew to retire was Dylan Davies/Llion Williams with power steering problems in their Subaru Impreza.

Black/Edmondson also scored maximum points in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, with husband and wife pairing Martyn and Dawn England (Fiesta R5) finishing second and Peter Stephenson/Will Rogers (Fiesta WRC) third. Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe have taken the lead in the Welsh series, after a fantastic Group N victory in their Subaru Impreza.

Damian Cole/Den Golding won the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, which was played out over the 12 Tarmac 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.

Nicky Grist said: “Quinton MC has really upped the standard on this year’s event and as an organising team they are getting better and better – and that’s been reflected in the success of the 2017 rally. We were blessed with beautiful weather, which keeps the marshals, spectators and everyone happy, but it also throws up other challenges for the competitors, especially on the dusty gravel stages on day one. The dry Tarmac roads of Epynt on day two certainly offered a great challenge, and we’ve had a fantastic event. I’m delighted. We’ve learnt a little bit more, so there are more improvements to be made, but as an event we are moving, most definitely, in the right direction.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We were very pleased by the big entry we received and the quality of the field – the three events certainly made for great competition and produced very worthy overall and class winners in all ten of the championships that we hosted. We’re always looking to make improvements, and everyone at Quinton MC is delighted with the way this very complex two-day mixed surface event is developing. We’d like extend our enormous thanks to all the marshals and officials who worked tirelessly to ensure the safe running of the event, and also to all the competitors, teams and spectators who were a credit to our sport last weekend.

All those who attended this year’s Nicky Grist Stages – officials, spectators, marshals, competitors, support teams, everyone! – are kindly reminded to fill out the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs economic benefits survey, which can be done on-line at: http://rallydata.co.uk/484245

Nicky Grist Stages – Top 10 Overall

  1. Fredrik Åhlin/Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia R5): 1hr 45mins 50.2secs
  2. Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (Ford Fiesta R5): +47.5secs
  3. Rhys Yates/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta R5): +2mins 08.0secs
  4. Martin McCormack/David Moynihan (Ford Fiesta R5): +2mins 11.7secs
  5. Jamie Anderson/Ross Whittock (Ford Fiesta R5): +3mins 16.7secs
  6. Barry McKenna/Leon Jordan (Ford Fiesta R2): +5mins 04.9secs
  7. Callum Devine/Keith Moriarty (Opel Adam R2): +8mins 48.0secs
  8. William Creighton/Liam Regan (Peugeot 208 R2): +9mins 06.6secs
  9. James Williams/Dai Roberts (Ford Fiesta R2): +9mins 13.8secs
  10. Marty Gallagher/Dean O’Sullivan (Peugeot 208 R2): +9mins 45.7secs

Welsh rugby star Scott Williams to debut new home-built Escort on this weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages

Fresh from touring the South Pacific Islands, Welsh rugby international Scott Williams will debut a brand new Escort Mk2 on day two of the Nicky Grist Stages – when he drives the course opening zero car on the combined Prestone MSA British Rally Championship qualifying round and the stand-alone Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (Sunday 9 July).

The new car has been built by his own Lampeter-based Scott Williams Motorsport team and will be seen for the very first time on the event. Established in April 2016, SWM has already enjoying great success – with another one of Scott’s Mk2 Escorts currently leading the highly competitive Irish Historic Tarmac Championship.

For the Guinness Pro12 winning Scarlets Rugby centre, the Quinton Motor Club organised Nicky Grist Stages will be his first visit to the famous asphalt roads of the Epynt military range. Not only will Scott’s appearance be a huge draw to the many Welsh sports fans who will travel to Epynt to watch the rally, he’ll also play a vital role in the safe running of the event.

Scott Williams said: “I’ve never driven as part of the Safety Car Team on Epynt before, so I’m really looking forward to it. Epynt is well known in rallying as a very tough and challenging venue – very fast and narrow, with blind crests and no margin for error. I’ll be driving the Zero Car on the Sunday, so whilst we’re not competing, we travel at around eighty per cent competitive speed, so we won’t be going slowly either! My business, Scott Williams Motorsport, is building a brand new car, and the Nicky Grist Stages will be its first reveal. We want as many people to see the new car as possible, so running in front of the competitors on a round of the British Rally Championship is a fantastic opportunity to do just that. It’s going to be a lot of fun but we have a serious job to do ensuring the safety of both the competitors and spectators. I haven’t managed to talk Nicky [Grist] into co-driving for me yet – he said that he wants to see me drive first!

Nicky Grist said: “We are delighted to have a sporting celebrity from the rugby world on our event, and with Scott Williams so engaged and fanatical about rallying we are delighted that he can come and do a safety car job for us. All eyes will be on him, and I’m sure that his nerves will jangle a fair bit more on this event than they do on a Six Nations match for Wales!

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Having reliable Safety Cars running ahead of the field is a vital part of the event planning and having Scott out on the asphalt stages is an important part of that planning. Scott will be in close contact with me in Rally HQ and the MSA Safety Delegate out on the stages advising us on certain aspects of the stage set up.

Scott will also be watching the opening day of the Nicky Grist Stages from the VIP Hospitality marquee, when crews contest the gravel section of the event, which is a round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, BTRDA 1400 Championship, BTRDA Rally First, Fiesta ST Trophy, MG ZR Rally Challenge, FMP Rally Challenge and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship. You can join him in the VIP area too, with exclusive car parking, stage-side viewing area, breakfast, lunch, unlimited refreshments and guest speakers. More information on the great VIP rally day out is available from Sarah Williams on 01559 371534.

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

158 cars, 10 championships and 3 rallies in 1 head to Builth Wells for the Nicky Grist Stages this weekend!

This weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages – which begins with a brand new Builth Wells town centre start on Saturday morning – has attracted a massive 158 car entry, with 10 championships and three rallies in one completing on the nearby gravel forest and asphalt closed roads of Epynt on Saturday and Sunday (8-9 July).

As leader of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Welshman Osian Pryce will lead the field away as number one seed in his Ford Fiesta R5, and will be flagged away from the ceremonial start in Strand Street at 08.30 on Saturday. He will be aiming to maintain his championship advantage, and will contest the full two-days and 20 stages, which have been organised by Quinton Motor Club.

Stephen Petch (Fiesta WRC) is the top seeded Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series runner, and will resume his close title battle with his high-speed rivals, including championship leader Callum Black (Fiesta R5+). The eight forest stages on Saturday will count towards their championship points tally – and like many, they will stay on to contest the following day’s separate Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, which has 12 asphalt stages and is part of the MAXXIS MSA English Championship ‘double header’ weekend.

Andy Davies (Subaru Impreza) arrives in Builth Wells aiming to extend his lead in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship. Indeed, there will be fierce battles raging throughout the 158 car field, as crews compete for points and pride in the BTRDA 1400 Championship, BTRDA Rally First, Fiesta ST Trophy, MG ZR Rally Challenge, FMP Rally Challenge and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship.

Spectators are in for a real treat, as along with the very best British rally driving talent there is an extraordinary variety of cars – with no less than 20 different car manufacturers represented on the entry list. In addition to the more familiar rallying Ford Escorts and Fiestas, Subaru Imprezas and Mitsubishi Lancers is a Porsche 911, Toyota GT86, BMW 325i, Volvo Amazon and a Lotus Elise!

The top seeded cars and drivers will line up in Strand Street from 08.00 this Saturday before being flagged away from outside Strand Hall from 08.30. There are dedicated, well signposted, spectators areas where fans can watch the action on both Saturday and Sunday, with cars returning to service inside the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd throughout the event. The champagne-spraying finish will take place in Groe Park on Sunday – with local DJ Mark Weller making it a real family-friendly party atmosphere from approximately 16.00 onwards. Full spectator information is available at nickygriststages.co.uk.

Keep your cameras and mobile devices fully charged and be ready to enter a fantastic SPOT THE RALLY CAR competition – with some great rally prizes up for grabs! You can enter by posting your pictures on Facebook at fb.me/nickygriststages or on Twitter using the hash tag #ngstages17.

In association with Spencer Sport, Nicky Grist Stages VIP Hospitality packages are available for both the Saturday and Sunday – with exclusive car parking, stage-side viewing area, marquee, breakfast, lunch, unlimited refreshments and guest speakers. For information on availability and cost, please contact Sarah Williams on 01559 371534.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We are amazed at the depth and quality of the entry across all three events. Bringing ten championships has been a challenge and we hope we’ve risen to it. The stages I’m told are in fantastic condition and our thanks go to Landmarc and Rally4Wales for the preparation and to NRW and DTE Wales for allowing us access to their land. A huge thanks to RWS for making us welcome and to Builth Town Council and Powys County Council for all their work with the town centre start. We look forward to welcoming all competitors to Builth Wells for a cracking weekend’s rallying. Good luck to everyone and stay safe. My final thanks go to all the marshals, timekeepers, radio, rescue, recovery and medical crews for making the event happen.

Ian Butcher, Nicky Grist Stages Rally Manager, said: “We are delighted to bring such a quality entry to Builth Wells for this year’s Nicky Grist Stages. A small and dedicated team has put together what looks like a great weekend’s motorsport. However, without the support of the local community this would not be possible. So our sincere thanks go out to all the local motor clubs, their members and marshals, as well as all the other event officials, medical and recovery teams, that are travelling from as far as Yorkshire to make the event possible, because without this help we would not have a rally. We look forward to welcoming you all to Builth Wells and the Nicky Grist Stages; you have our eternal gratitude.

In line with MSA requirements, competitors have been seeded together in their order of expected performance. The top 10 seeded crews (with their start numbers) on each event are:

 

Nicky Grist 100 Stages (Gravel/Tarmac, 8-9 July)

1 – Osian Pryce/Dale Furniss (Ford Fiesta R5)

2 – Fredrik Åhlin/Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia R5)

3 – Martin McCormack/David Moynihan (Škoda Fabia R5)

4 – Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Ford Fiesta R5)

7 – Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod  (Ford Fiesta R5)

10 – Rhys Yates/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta R5)

11 – Jamie Anderson/Ross Whittock (Ford Fiesta R5)

22 – Thomas Preston/Stuart Loudon (Škoda Fabia R5)

25 – Alex Laffey/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta)

28 – James Slaughter/Niall Burns (Ford Fiesta R5)

 

Nicky Grist Stages (Gravel, Saturday 8 July)

5 – Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC)

8 – Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta R5+)

9 – Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta WRC)

12 – Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg (Ford Fiesta R5)

14 – Martyn England/Dawn England (Ford Fiesta R5+)

15 – Dylan Davies/Llion Williams (Subaru Impreza)

16 – Andy Davies/Max Freeman (Subaru Impreza)

17 – Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Mitsubishi Evo 9)

18 – Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy (Mitsubishi Evo 9)

19 – Richard Hill/Steffan Evans (Mitsubishi Evo IV)

 

Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (Tarmac, Sunday 9 July)

201 – Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC)

203 – Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta WRC)

204 – Damian Cole/Den Golding (Ford Escort)

205 – Peter Stephenson/Will Rogers (Subaru P2000 WRC)

207 – Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Mitsubishi Evo 9)

208 – Mark Worley/Hamish Campbell (Škoda Fabia S2000)

209 – Mark Gamble/Stephen Link (Subaru Impreza)

210 – Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor (Citroën DS3 R3T)

212 – Tim Phelps/Elwyn Manuel (Ford Escort MK2)

213 – Andy Woodward/Tom Bowen (Renault Clio)

 

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

Builth Wells town centre to host Nicky Grist Stages start and finish parties – and everyone’s invited!

Builth Wells will, for the first time, host both the start and finish ceremonies of the Quinton Motor Club organised Nicky Grist Stages, with a big motorsport celebration on the morning of Saturday 8 July and the afternoon of Sunday 9 July – to which everyone is invited. And what’s more, both events are completely free for spectators!

Strand Street will be the place to be for the new rally start on the Saturday– where the top seeded cars will be on display from 08.00 and where fans will be able to meet their rally heroes. All the competitors from 10 different championships – including the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship and MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship – will then be flagged away at one minute intervals from outside Strand Hall by local dignitaries and rally celebrities from 08.30 onwards.

Spectator areas, giving the best and safest vantage points to view the high-speed action, will be set up and well signposted as crews tackle first the gravel sections on Saturday and then the Tarmac stages over Epynt on the Sunday – with all proceeds raised from car parking charges and programme sales going to local charities. Spectators will also be able to see the rally cars close up when they come into the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd for service – and Saturday evening is the best time to come, as teams have two hours to transform their gravel spec cars into Tarmac trim. Full spectator information is available at nickygriststages.co.uk.

After all 20 special stages have been completed the most successful crews will attend the champagne-spraying finish ceremony on Sunday afternoon. Following the success of 2016, this will once again take place 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.

Keep an eye out on social media for a fantastic SPOT THE RALLY CAR competition – with some great rally prizes!

Councillor Meryl Prynne, Mayor Builth Wells Town Council, said: “We give a warm welcome to all who are connected with the Nicky Grist Stages as once again we see the rally being brought into Builth Wells but this time we are actually having the start of the rally in the middle of town. Staging the start of the rally in Strand Street and then ending the rally on the Groe will increase the profile of Builth Wells locally and nationally. The increased number of visitors it will bring into the town will give a much needed boost to the economy and we hope that this event might become an annual feature in our town.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We are particularly pleased to be bringing the start of this year’s Nicky Grist Stages into the heart of Builth Wells, giving residents and visitors the opportunity to get close to the cars and drivers before they head off to the stages.

Ian Butcher, Nicky Grist Stages Rally Manager, said: “We would especially like to thank Jeremy Patterson and all at Powys CC for their support in this venture. It is down to Mr Patterson’s personal intervention that we have been able to proceed with closing Strand Street. We hope he can join us at the Ceremonial Start to flag the cars away.

Spectators can also enjoy Nicky Grist Stages VIP Hospitality packages, as these are not reserved for only corporate guests and sponsors! It will be a sell-out experience this year and only a few places are still available for Saturday and/or Sunday – with exclusive car parking, stage-side viewing area, marquee, breakfast, lunch, unlimited refreshments and guest speakers. For information on availability and cost, please contact Sarah Williams from Spencer Sport on 01559 371534.

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

BTRDA Rally Series leader Callum Black targets Nicky Grist Stages wins – before staying on Epynt for Tarmac practice

Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series leader Callum Black is aiming for victory on the Nicky Grist Stages – and after contesting the all-gravel qualifying round on Saturday 8 July, the 586 Sports-prepared Ford Fiesta R5+ driver will remain in mid-Wales for the following day’s Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (Sunday 9 July); giving him invaluable Tarmac rally practice and a chance of more points over the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship ‘double-header’ weekend event.

The talented 25-year old DMACK Tyres and PFC Brakes supported driver from Brackley in Northamptonshire is enjoying a great first full season in a four-wheel drive car, with a fourth, third and two second place finishes in the BTRDA Rally Series. After four rallies, he holds a 10 point lead at the top the Gold Star drivers’ standings heading into the Builth Wells-based event, with Ruthin’s Hugh Hunter (Fiesta R5) second and Bishop Auckland’s Stephen Petch (Fiesta WRC) a further seven points behind in third. The closeness of the battle for the overall title is echoed in all the classes, with a total of 124 drivers having scored points in this year’s BTRDA Rally Series.

Black knows the forest sections of the Nicky Grist Stages quite well, having contested the event before in a Citroën DS3 R3T Max (finishing first in class in 2015) and in a MG ZR 1400S. With the all-gravel BTRDA Rally Series qualifying round on Saturday 8 July, Black and co-driver Elliott Edmondson will stay on to contest the asphalt Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally the following day. Black has rallied over the famous Epynt military range Tarmac stages just once before, finishing a very impressive 12th overall on the 2011 Harry Flatters Rally in a Suzuki Swift S1600.

Both days will offer Black a unique opportunity to compare his pace against the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship regulars – as well as scoring points in the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship. He is currently fifth in the English series after two rounds, and the two Quinton Motor Club organised events count as a ‘double-header’, with full championship points awarded at the end of each day.

Black said: “We’ve had some very good results in this year’s BTRDA Rally Series, but we’d like to get a few wins in to help with our end-of-season score when dropped scores come into play, so we’ll be pushing for the top step of the podium on the Nicky Grist Stages. I’ve done the event before, but this is the first time we’re going to tackle the stages in a four-wheel drive car. All-wheel drive suits my driving style better than two-wheel drive, so I’m looking forward to returning to the classic Monument, Route 60, Halfway and Crychan stages in the Fiesta R5. Whilst scoring BTRDA points is our main objective, it will also be a great opportunity to compare my pace with the British Rally Championship crews, as that’s the series we’ll like to move up and contest next year.

It’s brilliant that there is a Tarmac rally the following day, and we’re going to stay on and contest the Acropolis Rally on the Sunday. I’ve only ever rallied a four-wheel drive car on Tarmac for six miles, and that was on the asphalt section of this year’s Somerset Stages, so it will be very good practice. Once again, we’ll be able to match our times directly with the cream of the BRC crop, as well as trying to strengthen our position in the English Rally Championship. The Nicky Grist Stages should be a fantastic couple of days of competition, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm from Callum for the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, and we hope that more of the BTRDA competitors join him and take on the challenge of the infamous Epynt asphalt roads. This year’s event is shaping up to be an epic, and with the likes of Damian Cole entered in his stunning Escort it will be interesting to see how they’ll fare against the BRC runners. Could we be in for a few surprises?

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

A rally within a rally: tremendous Epynt Tarmac test awaits Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally crews on the Nicky Grist Stages

The Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (Sunday 9 July), a stand-alone rally within the Nicky Grist Stages, will be a fantastic Tarmac test for competitors as the event offers 12 fantastic stages totalling just over 72 stage miles over the Epynt military range – and as it’s open to a huge variety of cars, it’s going to be a real rally treat for both crews and spectators alike. Competitor information and entry forms are now available at www.nickygriststages.co.uk.

The Quinton Motor Club organised all-asphalt event is open to competitors with MSA National B Stage Rally licences and above. Not only will crews in the prestigious Prestone MSA British Rally Championship be competing, the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally will also be a round of the MAXXIS MSA English Championship. The event is likely to attract Tarmac experts, Epynt specialists, those eager for a new challenge and others wanting to practice for forthcoming events, like the MSA British Historic Rally Championship crews who plan to contest the Stephens & George Printing Harry Flatters Rally over the same roads three weeks later (30 July).

Competitors will also benefit from a recce of Epynt’s asphalt stages and subjective route notes will be available from Patterson Pacenotes.

Llandysul-based rally team Spencer Sport will sponsor the special one-day Sunday rally, and the Acropolis Rally name harks back to one of Quinton MC’s earliest and most popular events. Soon after the club was formed in 1959 it ran (amongst others) the Acropolis Rally from the mid-1960s onwards, becoming a hugely popular Welsh Championship night road rally. It has not taken place in that format since 1986, and the club last used the name for a single venue stage event at Wheaton Aston in the late 1980s. And so, after an absence of over 25 years, the Acropolis Rally name returns to Quinton MC’s events calendar.

Early entries for the 2017 Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally include Tarmac expert Damian Cole/Den Golding (Ford Escort), Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series leader Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta R5+) and experienced Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9).

And don’t forget, the day before (Saturday 8 July) will see a 45 stage mile all-gravel rally in the forests of Monument, Halfway, Crychan and Route 60 for competitors in the BRC, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, BTRDA 1400 Championship, BTRDA Rally First, Fiesta ST Trophy, MG ZR Rally Challenge, FMP Rally Challenge and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship.

Also in association with Spencer Sport, Nicky Grist Stages VIP Hospitality packages are available for both the Saturday and Sunday – with exclusive car parking, stage-side viewing area, marquee, breakfast, lunch, unlimited refreshments and guest speakers. For information on availability and cost, please contact Sarah Williams on 01559 371534.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We at Quinton Motor Club are delighted to be able to offer the clubman competitor the opportunity to compete on the asphalt element of the Nicky Grist Stages through the Spencer Sport Acropolis Stages, a specific event for all those clubman that enjoy the challenges of the Epynt ranges and those fighting to be crowned the MAXXIS MSA English Champion. We also welcome Spencer Sport as an event sponsor and we thank Charlie Jukes for his support for our event.

Ian Butcher, Nicky Grist Stages Rally Manager, said: “It personally gives me great pleasure to see the Acropolis name being revived as I was Clerk of the Course for several years when was it was a night event, in the heyday of Welsh road rallying. It will be great to see some of our local crews mixing with the hotshots of the BRC over the legendary Epynt asphalt. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our Sunday event.

Nicky Grist said: “I hope competitors takes advantage of the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, as it’s a wonderful opportunity for crews to do a proper recce of Epynt’s famous Tarmac roads, including from Four Ways Bridge all the way up the New Road. Crews will be pushing hard for points in the MSA British and English Championships, so it’s a unique opportunity to compare yourself with some of the best rally drivers in the UK – and it’s also perfect timing for those who want to go out and practice for the Harry Flatters. All-in-all, the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally should be a fantastic event for crews and spectators.

Charlie Jukes, MD of Spencer Sport, said: “As a South Wales-based operation, we are keen to see rallying thrive in our area and therefore, Spencer Sport is delighted to be involved with the revival of this historic Quinton Motor Club event. Our support for the Nicky Grist Stages includes an exclusive spectator and hospitality area located on the Epynt military ranges. To help boost corporate involvement and showcase the sport to a wider audience, we are offering companies and guests a chance to take a table in our marquee for lunch and to watch the cars in action from a specially reserved vantage point.

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

Brettex Site Services generously helps the Nicky Grist Stages raise funds for Tirabad and Brecon charities

Brettex Site Services – the title sponsor of up-and-coming British rally star Rhys Yates – is helping this year’s Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) raise funds for two local charities by generously agreeing to pay for the print cost of the event programme.

Money raised by selling the event programmes is split evenly each year between the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Group – with charity representatives manning the entry to the spectator car parking areas. Last year 750 programmes were printed, raising much-appreciated funds.

Not only will Brettex Site Services’ kind contribution be warmly welcome behind the scenes, on the stages it hopes that Chesterfield-based Rhys and co-driver Carl Williamson will pick up some valuable Prestone MSA British Rally Championship points, as they aim for a top finish in their Ford Fiesta R5.

In addition, the annual collection at competitors’ signing on, together with a donation from the event-organising Quinton Motor Club, will be given to the Welsh Air Ambulance.

John Yates, MD of Brettex Site Services, said: “Brettex Site Services has long been a supporter of various charities and events across the motorsport fraternity so we are very proud to be able to help the local community on the Nicky Grist Stages. The team really enjoyed the event last year and it was a great test of everyone’s abilities with the mixed surface format. We are certainly looking forward to coming back again this July.

Rhys Yates said: “We had one of our better BRC results on the Nicky Grist Stages in 2016 with seventh overall, so it would be nice to think that we can better that this time around. We had a great start to the season and were fourth in the championship after the opening two rounds, so the aim will undoubtedly be to see if we can start knocking on the door of the podium positions on the Nicky Grist.

Ian Butcher, Nicky Grist Stages Rally Manager, said: “We’d very much like to thank Brettex Site Services for its support of this year’s Nicky Grist Stages and the wonderful contribution it is making to the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Group. Brettex really wanted its sponsorship of the event to mean something, and its generosity will be very much appreciated by the two local charities the Nicky Grist Stages annually supports.

Rhys Yates’s 2017 BRC programme is also backed by Michelin, Protyre, Kick Motorsport, Simpson, Zenith Racing, Prestone, Draper Tools, Jordan Road Surfacing, PIAA and NGK Spark Plugs.

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

Welsh rugby international Scott Williams helps launch the 2017 Nicky Grist Stages and GoSafe alliance

Welsh rugby international Scott Williams helped launch this year’s alliance between the Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) and Go Safe – Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, which is aimed at making sure all those who attend this year’s event drive sensibly and safely on the public highway.

Scott, who won the Guinness Pro12 Final with the Scarlets Rugby last weekend and goes on the summer tour of the South Pacific Islands with the Welsh Rugby Union, is not just a keen motorsport fan, he owns Scott Williams Motorsport, a Lampeter-based team that builds and runs rally cars. It’s a highly successful team too – one of Scott’s Escort Mk2s currently leads the highly competitive Irish Historic Tarmac Championship.

This is the fourth year that the Nicky Grist Stages (a round of 10 rally championships, including the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship) and GoSafe have teamed up together, in what has proven to be a very successful partnership. GoSafe will once again have a highly visible roadside presence around the rally’s host town of Builth Wells and routes around the Epynt military ranges. GoSafe’s aim is educating motorists, preventing motoring offences and making people safer on Welsh roads by reducing casualties and saving lives. It isn’t just about speed camera enforcement either – its officers will be encouraging people to drive responsibly and sensibly, wear seatbelts and not overtake on solid white lines. This year’s Nicky Grist Stages takes place just before a two-week campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of using hand-held mobile ‘phones – and GoSafe will be on the event giving out CELLslip pouches which you can put your mobile ‘phone into whilst in your car, which disconnects the signal without you having to adjust any of the ‘phone settings.

Sergeant Ian Price from Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Working with Nick Grist and other motorsports organisations within GoSafe, it’s important that we can interact with their supporters and try to encourage safer driving on the roads. If fans want to drive like rally drivers, there are many motorsport clubs they can join and we appeal to them to not drive like rally drivers on the highway. If they do, they’ll inevitably either become a victim themselves or cause another person to become a victim – and when it comes to death by dangerous driving, you’re looking at fourteen years in prison if you’re convicted. I’ve seen too many lives ruined because of erratic, irresponsible driving. You do get people, especially the young, influenced by motorsport and what they see in films, and they don’t see the consequences of what those risks can present later.

The GoSafe Partnership, as with any camera partnership, has traditionally been speed enforcement and trying to encourage people to drive slower, but road casualties are not just caused by speeding. It can be inappropriate driving, dangerous driving, overtaking on solid white lines and driving whilst operating a hand held mobile ‘phone. They might even be driving safely and not wearing a seatbelt and we know that if everyone wore seatbelts, we could halve the number of fatalities we see on our roads. Motorists need to consider the range of offences the GoSafe camera vans can pick up. We work closely with the national campaigns, like the mobile ‘phone and seatbelt campaigns, and we will have a highly visible presence on this year’s Nicky Grist Stages. We don’t want to catch anyone committing an offence, we’d rather everyone drives safely and lawfully.

Scott Williams said: “I jumped at the opportunity to show my support to the Nicky Grist Stages and the GoSafe Partnership. It’s important that people drive safely to and from motorsport events, because we want everyone to enjoy themselves and have a great day out – and leave driving flat-out to the competitors on the stages. When you compete on a stage rally it’s on a closed road, you know that nothing will be driving towards you and you’re in an extremely strong car that’s been built with all the motorsport safety equipment. Living in west Wales I do a lot of miles on the road each year, driving to rugby matches and training camps and driving to motorsport events with my own Scott Williams Motorsport team. It’s important that you drive sensibly on the public road and not only keep yourself safe, but other road users safe as well.

Nicky Grist said: “Stage rallying gives competitors the opportunity to drive at speed in a controlled manner, but the long-term benefits of rallying in general are not just about what happens on the stages. You need those same competitors, their service crews, all the event officials and all the spectators to drive safely and responsibly on the public road. That’s what gives the local residence, who are perhaps not interested in motorsport and who are going about their normal weekend business, the perception of what’s going on. The partnership between GoSafe and the Nicky Grist Stages is about creating a very positive perception and to help keep road users, both involved in the event and those who are not, safe. And if anyone is inspired by the speed and skill of the drivers competing on the Nicky Grist Stages, getting involved in motorsport is a great way to test your driving ability in a safe and controlled environment. Never do it on the public road.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Our relationship with GoSafe has gone from strength to strength and Quinton Motor Club are thrilled this has carried over to a fourth year. We are keen to show the local communities we travel through that we take their safety as importantly as those of the competitors out on the stages, and this partnership helps us with this. Every year we ask GoSafe for feedback and I am delighted to say that they are always very complimentary about the behaviour of our competitors, officials and spectators.

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

Nicky Grist Stages entries open, as fine-tuned route provides magnificent gravel and Tarmac challenge

Entries are now open for the Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) – with the official event Regulations and Entry forms published on-line at nickygriststages.co.uk.

2017 celebrates the 37th running of Quinton Motor Club’s forest stage rally, the 30th consecutive year of it hosting a round of the BTRDA Rally Series and the seventh year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports. Following its maiden success last year, the Nicky Grist Stages remains the only mixed-surface round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, with a fine-tuned route for 2017 giving competitors a magnificent gravel and Tarmac challenge and spectators a weekend-long festival of top class rally action.

Competitors have a choice of three events to enter – a gravel National B stage rally on the Saturday (8 July), a Tarmac National B stage rally on the Sunday (9 July) and a two-day (8-9 July) mixed-surface National A stage rally. All of which is fantastic news for spectators, who’ll have 10 different championships and up to 180 cars to watch competing on some of the best forest and Tarmac stages in the UK.

Both the gravel route on the Saturday and the Tarmac course the following day have been revised – with Saturday containing eight gravel stages (a loop of four run twice), separated by a midday service at the Royal Welsh Showground. The Monument, Halfway and a longer Crychan stage will be run in the opposite direction to last year, leaving Route 60 as the only unaltered test. In total there will be 45 stage miles of gravel for competitors in the BRC, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, BTRDA 1400 Championship, BTRDA Rally First, Fiesta ST Trophy, MG ZR Rally Challenge, FMP Rally Challenge and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship.

Sunday will see a revised Tarmac route, with a further 12 stages totalling 72 miles over the famous roads of the Epynt military ranges. In a change to 2016, this year will see two loops of three stages in the morning and two loops of three different stages in the afternoon, separated by a lunchtime service at the Royal Welsh Showground. In addition to Sunday being the second Nicky Grist Stages day of the BRC, there will also be a separate event called the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, which is part of the MAXXIS MSA English Championship double-header weekend and open to all other National B stage rally competitors.

In line with MSA requirements, competitors on these rallies will be seeded together in their order of expected performance on both the Saturday and Sunday.

Not only will rally fans be able to see the BRC cars in high-speed action on two surfaces, 20 stages and over 117 miles, there will also be a two hour service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground on the Saturday night, when teams change car set-up from gravel to Tarmac – a sight to behold for those mechanically minded and a great opportunity for driver autograph hunters. The finish ceremony will take place in Builth Wells shortly after 16.00 on the Sunday.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We’ve acted upon all the feedback we received from competitors following last year’s event, and we hope that the changes that we have made to this year’s route will be to everyone’s liking. The Nicky Grist Stages really is blessed with some fantastic roads, and we’ve tried hard to make best use of the available gravel and Tarmac stages. We’ve once again created a 45 stage mile route on the Saturday for the BTRDA, Welsh and other championships, which is a great challenge on some fabulous forest roads. Following on from lessons learnt last year, Sunday’s Tarmac event will start later to allow the Army to clear the ranges, should any of its overnight exercises overrun. Crews will then do two loops of three stages before a service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground, and another three stages done twice in the afternoon. This format will make Sunday’s stages run a lot more efficiently, yet provide competitors with the very best challenge Epynt can throw at them and make it a truly tremendous day out for the spectators.

Nicky Grist said: “This year’s route is going to be absolutely fantastic for each and every competitor, with some great viewing points for spectators. We’re very lucky to have some of the best forestry stages on our doorstep, and the gravel part of the event will feel similar to last year – albeit with three of the four stages run in the opposite direction. The next day on Tarmac has been designed to flow and breathe a lot better. Cars will still run at thirty-second intervals, but the stage layouts and timetable will make it much better for crews and spectators. As the only mixed-surface round of the British Rally Championship, this year’s event will be a true rally challenge.

In association with Spencer Sport, Nicky Grist Stages VIP Hospitality packages are available for both Saturday and Sunday – with exclusive car parking, stage-side viewing area, marquee, breakfast, lunch, unlimited refreshments and guest speakers. For information on availability and cost, please contact Sarah Williams on 01559 371534.

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