Rally championships finely balanced as 180 crews look forward to the Nicky Grist Stages

This year’s Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July) is the only event to host a round of both the MSA British Rally Championship and Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series – together with the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship and a host of other top class British championships.

Quinton Motor Club has organised 45 stage miles on gravel for Saturday 9 July, over the magnificent loose-surface roads of Crychan, Halfway, Route 60 and Monument. The only mixed-surface round of the BRC continues on Sunday 10 July, with a further 60 miles over the fantastic Tarmac stages of the Epynt military range.

With a capacity entry of 180 crews, along with team personnel, rally fans and officials now preparing to travel to the event’s host town of Builth Wells, we take a look how the various championships stand, and who are likely to be the key players at this year’s Nicky Grist Stages.

 

MSA British Rally Championship

Elfyn Evans has retaken the lead in the MSA British Rally Championship, after the DMACK British Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 driver won round four of the series, the RSAC Scottish Rally, last weekend. The Welshman arrives in Builth Wells, just down the A470 from his home in Dolgellau, 20 points ahead of Fredrik Åhlin in the drivers’ standings. All the BRC events are new to the Swedish driver, who has been a revelation in his CA1 Sport-prepared Fiesta R5 and who led the series after taking victory on the Pirelli Carlisle Rally. However, a second retirement of the season in Scotland leaves Åhlin promising to “push like hell” on the Nicky Grist Stages, as he aims for nothing less than wins. Tom Cave is third in his Spencer Sport Fiesta R5 – the Welshman’s last appearance in the Epynt forests ended at the bottom of a ravine after a pre-BRC season accident on the Red Kite Rally, but he’s been on great form ever since and returns full of confidence. Monaghan’s Josh Moffett is Ireland’s top placed BRC driver in fourth, while the first non-Fiesta R5 is the Citroën DS3 R5 of Jonny Greer, who brings to Builth Wells a great deal of gravel and Tarmac rally experience. After retiring from his Joker-playing home round, Scotland’s David Bogie will be out to make amends in his ŠKODA Fabia R5 – a car that Desi Henry, Neil Simpson and Tom Preston will also be piloting. There is a great battle in the under 26-year old DMACK Junior BRC category, with the Vauxhall Motorsport Junior Rally Team Adam R2 pairing of Robert Duggan and Mattias Adielsson fighting with the Ford Fiesta R2s of Gus Greensmith, Josh Cornwell Meirion Evans, Adam Bustard and Blair Brown – although it was Sindre Furuseth who won last time out in his Renault Twingo R2. Matt Edwards leads the BRC2 production series in his Mitsubishi Evo 9.

 

Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series

Another good result on the Nicky Grist Stages would make it extremely difficult for anyone to stop Charlie Payne becoming 2016 Ravenol BTRDA Gold Star champion. Co-driven by Carl Williamson, the Fiesta driver has posted two wins, two seconds and one fourth, and with six scores from eight rallies to count, that run of success puts him in a very strong position. After five rounds Andy Davies is second in the overall drivers’ standings, and after an excellent season so far the Lampeter man is also leading the Production Cup category in his Group N Subaru Impreza. Steve Simpson (Fiesta S2000) is third, Paul Benn (Focus WRC02) is fourth and Luke Francis (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) is fifth – although with two wins, one second and two DNFs, a good run on the Nicky Grist Stages could see the Rhuddlan driver launch a late challenge for the title. Likewise, with two DNFs to his name, Stephen Petch (Fiesta R5+) needs a strong run of points-scoring finishes from now on to keep his title hopes alive. The race for the BTRDA Silver Star title is wide open, with Caernarfon’s Gavin Edwards (Escort), leading Llandovery’s Cameron Davies (Fiesta ST), while defending champion Boyd Kershaw (Escort Mk2) is third. In the Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 Championship, Neil Andrew leads Karl Davies (both Nissan Micra), while Dominique Hodge (Micra) leads the Rally First category, five points ahead of top lady driver Emily Retallick (Peugeot 205)

 

Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship

Luke Francis and co-driver John H Roberts lead the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, after recording their fourth maximum points score of the season on the Severn Valley Stages in their Mitsubishi Evo 9. Dylan Davies (Subaru Impreza) finished second on the most recent event to maintain second in the points standings, 30 points behind the leader. Andrew Jones arrives in Builth Wells third overall and leading both the Vital Equipment Junior Welsh Championship for drivers’ and the two-wheel drive category in his Ford Escort. Andy Davies slipped from second to fourth in the overall standings after retiring from the Severn Valley with fuel pump problems on his Subaru Impreza, although he continues to lead Group N. Brecon’s Sara Williams claimed Group N honours last time out, on her first rally in nearly seven months. Just three points separate fifth place defending Group N champion Paul Davy (Subaru) and Wug Utting (Subaru), while New Zealander Boyd Kershaw (Escort) is seventh. Luke Francis also leads the Ravenol Welsh Challenge from Andrew Jones, while four drivers are tied on points in third place.

 

HRCR Stage Masters Challenge

The Nicky Grist Stages marks the mid-way point of this new challenge for historic cars, which allows competitors to pick and choose their favourite gravel and Tarmac events and which has a points scoring system that gives everyone a chance of becoming overall champion. It’s proven to be a big success, with 20 registered crews and a fantastic mix of cars including Minis, Hillman Avengers, Datsuns, Opel Asconas, Porsches and of course Escort Mk1s and Mk2s. Northern Island’s Stanley Orr (Escort Mk1) currently leads the standings, having scored maximum points in all three previous rounds. Business commitments forces Orr to miss the Nicky Grist Stages, but his co-driver Guy Weaver hopes to maintain his lead in the navigators’ table as he partners Rudi Lancaster (Escort Mk1). Quinton MC members Peter Barlow/Mark Dillon will be aiming for Escort Mk2 honours, having recently finished repairing their car. Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride will be ones to watch in their Porsche 911, while Rikki Proffitt/Graham Wild will be aiming to end a run of bad luck on gravel with a good run in their Datsun 240Z.

 

ANWCC Forest Rally Championship

At the halfway point in the 2016 ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, Dolgellau driver Siôn Ellis holds a commanding lead in his Nissan Sunny – and regardless of the result on the Nicky Grist Stages, he will continue to be ahead of the closely grouped pack. Matthew Jackson is currently in the runners-up position, having led for a time in his Nissan Micra. 2015 champion Jayne Auden-Row is just one point behind Jackson, having forsaken her championship-winning MG for a Lancer for most of this year’s events. Small cars dominate with Paul Ellis fourth in his ŠKODA Favorit that has been returned to competition after a few years parked in his back yard! Scotsman Richard Crozier heads the co-drivers’ table, having contested all six qualifying rounds in a variety of cars, while North Walian Caron Tomlinson is second and Ian Jones third. Ladies take up the next two co-drivers places – fourth overall is currently Heather Merrison in her first season, whilst Jackson’s co-driver Claire Williams is close behind. The championship includes awards for best front- and rear-wheel drive competitors as well as novice, junior and senior awards.

 

FMP Rally Challenge

With three sealed surface and two forestry rallies having taken place, crews who just compete on gravel will be looking to redress the balance with 48 FMP Rally Challenge contenders already entered. Company Director Nev Jones brings his Vulcan Fasteners Subaru S7 WRC from Staffordshire and is aiming to take the FMP Gravel Cup from Cardiganshire’s Dylan Davies this year. Nev’s co-driver Chris Davies is in the running to win the FMP Junior title. BTRDA Production Cup leader Andy Davies with Max Freeman will be their closest rivals. A certain top 10 current position in the standings was thwarted when Chepstow’s Sacha Kakad retired on the Lawrence Landfill Stages in Dale in a hired Evo 10. He scored a class win on reserve round, the Severn Valley Stages, and he and Chesterfield driver Rhys Yates could still potentially become overall victors. Current junior and overall leader, 22-year old Siobahn Pugh from Newton, hangs on to the co-driver’s lead despite missing the last round, the Midsummer Stages at Caerwent. She has entered with fellow contender Siôn Ellis in a Nissan Sunny. Siobahn is hoping to emulate inaugural FMP Champion Claire Williams who took both titles in 2013 and who is competing with John Easson award winner Matthew Jackson. Claire is currently the leading BTRDA female co-driver. After an outing on the Red Kite Stages, current leading driver Wynne Watkins has vowed to stick to Tarmac and a 3rd in class on his optional nominated overseas round, the Manx Trophy Rally, gives him a four point lead. In a bid to help raise the profile of the championships chosen charity, the Wales Air Ambulance, Elfyn Evans and Osian Pryce have registered and will carry FMP colours on selected rounds which coincide with the BRC.

 

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We welcome each of the championships that the Nicky Grist Stages count towards to Builth Wells. With a capacity entry the battles that have developed so far this season will continue on the classic gravel and asphalt stages we have put together. It has become a tradition that class and sometimes overall championships will be decided on the Nicky Grist Stages, and we wait to see how things unfold this year. What ever happens Quinton Motor Club has worked hard to put the event on for you all.

 

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

Nicky Grist Stages route confirmed – all NRW gravel forest roads to be used as originally planned

An agreement between Quinton Motor Club, the Motor Sports Association (MSA) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has been reached, whereby all the 45 gravel stage mile route of the Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July) will run as originally planned.

The continuing negotiations between the MSA and NRW had given Quinton Motor Club, the event organisers, a number of route options – but the agreement sees the best possible route confirmation outcome for the event and for the 180 crews who have already entered.

This means that all the 5.92 mile Crychan forest stage will be used as originally intended, along with the opening 2.45 miles of the 6.05 mile Halfway stage. The other two gravel stages, Route 60 (4.92 miles) and Monument (5.46 miles) are run entirely on military land. All four gravel stages will be run twice on Saturday 9 July, meaning a fantastic 44.70 miles of competition for competitors in the MSA British Rally Championship, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, HRCR Stage Masters Challenge, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, ANWCC Historic Stage Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge.

The BRC will continue onto day two (Sunday 10 July), where there will be a further 10 stages on Tarmac over the famous Epynt military ranges. Four stages – Quarry (4.39 miles), Cilieni (4.52 miles), Deers (4.42 miles) and Tank (4.36 miles) – will be tackled twice, together with New Road (11.77 miles) and ending with the longest stage of the event, Drovers Return (11.84 miles). Day two’s competitive distance totals 58.99 miles, giving BRC competitors an overall total stage distance of 103.43 miles.

On the Saturday, centralised servicing will be located at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, while on the Sunday there will be a remote service on the Epynt ranges. All stages will be run in daylight.

Rob Jones, MSA Chief Executive, said: “Against the background of continuing detailed discussions between the MSA and NRW, and in the spirit of those discussions, an accommodation has been reached allowing the 2016 Nicky Grist Stages to run as planned.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Now we have agreement from NRW to run our original route we are pleased the uncertainty is over. It has been a testing few weeks but our plans can now be realised 100%. We are grateful to both the NRW and the MSA for facilitating this agreement.

Nicky Grist said: “Now we have the green light for go! I am absolutely delighted. Quinton Motor Club has worked hard to get to this point and now it can focus more positively on running a great rally for everyone.

 

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

Local charities set for annual rally boost, as full 180 car entry gears up for the Nicky Grist Stages

Local charities are set to benefit from a capacity 180 car field and increased spectators numbers watching Britain’s top rally drivers when the Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July) takes place next month.

Each year the event raises money for three local charities. The revenue received from all the spectator car parking charges and rally programme sales are split evenly between the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Lions Club, while a collection is made at competitors’ signing on which, together with an additional donation by the event-organising Quinton Motor Club, is given to the Welsh Air Ambulance. And this year the event will be raising money for the BRC’s official charity partner, the Gareth Roberts Fund (www.garethrobertsfund.com) – which was set up in the memory of the 24-year old Welsh rally co-driving star who was tragically killed in a freak accident on the Targa Florio Rally in Sicily in June 2012.

In recent years the Nicky Grist Stages has been a one-day event, hosting a round of several championships, including the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series and the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship. For the first time in the event’s 36 year forest rally history, it will be a two-day event this year – as it also hosts a round of the MSA British Rally Championship. It is hoped that the best British rally drivers, tackling many of the best UK gravel and Tarmac stages, will attracted a record number of spectators to the Epynt military ranges – and in turn generate a record-breaking amount of money for the chosen charities.

The Wales Air Ambulance is celebrating its 15th birthday this year, and from small beginnings with one helicopter operating from Swansea airport, the charity now operates three state-of-the-art EC135 helicopters from Dafen near Llanelli, Welshpool and Caernarfon. The cost of operating these helicopters, currently around £6M a year, is funded by charity donations.

Mark James, one of the Wales Air Ambulance Trustees, said: “The rallying community has always been hugely supportive of the Wales Air Ambulance, possibly because of the awareness of getting urgent medical help to an incident miles away from the nearest hospital or ambulance station. Since we launched in 2001, we have become one of the most successful air ambulance charities in the UK and it’s thanks to donations from individuals and events like the Nicky Grist Stages that we’ve been able to expand and improve our service. Our next targets are the introduction of new, larger H145 helicopters in 2017 and a move towards 24-hour operations, so every penny we receive is vital. Thank you to everyone involved in the event for their support.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Supporting local charities is very important to Quinton MC and the Nicky Grist Stages as it puts something back into the local community. We are pleased to work with both The Rotary Club and Tirabad Village and wish them every success with their fundraising this year. We support the Welsh Air Ambulance in the hope we never have to use its services, however it’s good to know that they are there should we need them.

 

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

Nicky Grist Stages teams up with GoSafe to help ensure every road user has a safe and enjoyable rally

The Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July) has teamed up with the GoSafe Safety Camera Partnership for a third year, to help make sure that all spectators travelling to, from and around the event, plus competitors and officials using rally route road sections, adhere to the speed limits and enjoy a safe event.

Nicky Grist, international co-driver James Morgan, Welsh Rally Championship driver Dylan Davies, Sergeant David Edwards (Dyfed-Powys Police), Sue Storch (Chair of Road Safety Wales) and Chris Hume, the GoSafe Partnership Manager, met in Cross Hands to discuss this year’s joint awareness initiative – where they took the opportunity to pose for a photoshoot with a GoSafe mobile safety camera van, a GoSafe motorcycle and Tom Cave’s Ford Fiesta R5, courtesy of Llandysul-based Spencer Sport.

GoSafe will have a highly visible roadside presence around the rally’s host town of Builth Wells and routes around the Epynt military ranges, encouraging all road users to drive responsibly and within the speed limits. It will also be looking out for seatbelt and mobile phone offences. GoSafe will also have a stand at the event’s rally headquarters at the Royal Welsh Showground, where information on their work will be available.

Whilst GoSafe is responsible for red light and speed camera enforcement, its aim of reducing casualties on Welsh roads is not just about enforcing the law. The partnership encourages motorists to drive legally and safely through education, and by offering permanent engineering solutions to roads. GoSafe is made up of 22 local authorities in Wales, four Welsh Police Forces and the Welsh Government, and works closely with the National Public Health Service and Fire Services in Wales.

Sergeant David Edwards from Dyfed-Powys Police said: “GoSafe is delighted to once again be working in partnership with the Nicky Grist Stages. The aim of GoSafe  is to make people safer on Welsh roads by reducing casualties and saving lives. We’ll have a very visible presence at this year’s event, and we hope all competitors and spectators enjoy Wales and our Welsh roads, and that your time with us is an enjoyable one. Please drive safely and respect the speed limits.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Rallying in Wales is a huge sport and for a concentrated period of time may cause disruption to the local communities we pass through. I’m pleased that we are continuing our partnership with GoSafe to ensure the competitors, officials and spectators are aware of the high profile presence of this initiative on this year’s Nicky Grist Stages so there is no excuse for bad or anti-social driving. Safety of other road users is paramount to a good relationship between events and the local community.

Nicky Grist said: “Motorsport takes place on closed and marshalled roads, and is a safe and controlled environment that allows competitors to show their skill and expertise behind the steering wheel. That’s not the same on the open public road, where there are immeasurably more hazards and variables to consider, like pedestrians and on-coming traffic. It’s very important to drive in a safe and responsible manner, and that’s why the Nicky Grist Stages has once again teamed up with the GoSafe campaign, to make sure everyone who attends this year’s event has a safe and enjoyable weekend in and around the Epynt military ranges.

 

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

Nicky Grist Stages to be broadcast on Channel 4, BT Sport, Motors TV and on an S4C Ralïo special

Television cameras will be focused on this year’s Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July), as the event will enjoy an unprecedented amount of broadcast time on Channel 4, BT Sport and Motors TV – plus a dedicated 30-minute special on S4C’s Ralïo programme.

Hayfisher Productions will send a team of nine people to film the event for the MSA British Rally Championship. It has already completed a full route recce to determine the most suitable filming locations. Come the event, up to seven Panasonic 3100 cameras will take up these positions, ready to capture the on-stage action, while six cars will also carry two on-board cameras each. All the footage, including the pieces to camera by presenter Colin Clark and driver interviews, will be captured on solid-state cards (large data cards, about the size of a credit card). These will be taken back for post-production at Hayfisher’s studios in Droitwich, where Jon Desborough will do a voice over and the footage will be collated in four editing suites – all overseen by Chief Editor, Martin Rowe and Producer Mark James.

Three days after the event, a 48-minute programme for BT Sport and a 23-minute programme for Channel 4 (standard industry programme times for a 1 hour and a 30-minute programme, with room for ad breaks) will be transmitted by high-speed data connection to the two stations, for broadcast that coming weekend.

Ian Carver, who worked for Hayfisher Productions for 25 years on motorsport projects and who is now employed as a freelance rally co-ordinator, is responsible for all the logistics.

Filming a rally has its challenges,” says Ian. “It’s vital to do a full recce, because a map doesn’t show you any obstructions like trees that will ruin a shot. On a multiple stage event like the Nicky Grist Stages, it’s also important to work out how you’re going to get cameramen into locations on time, how and if they can move between stages and all the time never compromising on safety. You also have to think differently about gravel and Tarmac stages – with gravel there is often dust, and you never know what the wind direction is going to be until the day of the event, and on Tarmac the cars don’t slide as much, so you have to pick a camera position where there is a jump or something spectacular. And unlike racing, where cars pass you multiple times, you only get one chance in rallying!

It’s not just Hayfisher Productions who’ll be filming on the Nicky Grist Stages this year. Special Stage will also have its own dedicated camera crew filming the event, following competitors in the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship. Produced by Wayne Goldring, the programmes are broadcast on Motors TV and presented by Paul Woodford.

Meanwhile, the new series of Ralïo, now in its 13th year on S4C, is currently on air and broadcasting reports from the FIA World Rally Championship. Produced by Llanelli-based Tinopolis Wales and presented by Emyr Penlan and Lowri Morgan, a 30-minute Nicky Grist Stages special will be broadcast at 21.30 on Thursday 1 September. A Christmas special, following Elfyn Evans’ 2016 season, is planned, which is likely to include the Nicky Grist Stages as well.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “TV exposure for the event, Nicky and the various championships is very important to the organising team and we are extremely pleased with the coverage this year’s event will receive. Following our TV planning recce, during which we drove through all the gravel and Tarmac stages with Hayfisher Productions and experienced rally photographer Mark Writtle, I’m confident we have identified the very best and safest camera positions along the one hundred mile route. We’re looking forward to welcoming the film crews and all media to the event next month, and continuing to help them capture fantastic images of the Nicky Grist Stages.

Nicky Grist said: “I’m really looking forward to this year’s Nicky Grist Stages, because the combination of hosting a round of both the BRC and BTRDA, and running gravel and Tarmac stages, has created even more interest and excitement than we’d ever imagined. Quinton Motor Club is making a tremendous effort to make sure this is the best Nicky Grist Stages ever, and testament to that is the amazing response the organisers have received from competitors, film crews and broadcasters. I’m personally looking forward to welcoming everyone to the event in July, and enjoying what is guaranteed to be a fantastic rally festival up on Epynt.

The use of drones, by accredited media or spectators, is strictly forbidden on the Epynt military ranges, and no filming by drones will be allowed on any of the gravel or Tarmac stages.

 

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

Mikkelsen honoured by Nicky Grist Stages ‘Stars of the Day’ trophy, 10 years after his record-breaking win

Andreas Mikkelsen says that he is “honoured” to still have a trophy on the Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July) named after him, 10 years after he won the Quinton Motor Club-organised event.

The Norwegian driver – who is now an established star in the Volkswagen Motorsport World Rally Championship team – won the Quinton Stages (as it was called then) in 2006. Victory came just 16 days after his 17th birthday, making Mikkelsen the youngest ever winner of a British national rally.

The Rally First ‘Stars of the Day’ Andreas Mikkelsen Award was introduced in 2008, the year the Rally First category within the BTRDA rally series was introduced. The class is aimed at providing young drivers with an affordable route into rallying, with no major modifications allowed (other than safety equipment) and engines no bigger than 1400cc.

The first winners of the award were Quinton MC members James and Simon McLean in 2008. They have been followed by David Bennett/Alistair McNeil (2009), Ashley Slights/Thomas Hughes (2010), Harry Morgan/James Ford (2011), Joe Evett/Calvin Houldsworth (2012), Nick Carr/Joe Sturdy (2013), Sam Bilham/Graham Wild (2014) and last year John and Duncan Freeman won the award.

As in all previous occasions, this year’s winners of the Rally First ‘Stars of the Day’ Andreas Mikkelsen Award will be judged by Nicky Grist and the organising team – and it won’t necessarily be the winner of the Rally First category, as sportsmanship, determination, overcoming problems and driving flair are all taken into account.

This summer’s Nicky Grist Stages is the only event to host a round of both the MSA British Rally Championship and BTRDA rally series – and with other major championships like the MSA Welsh Rally Championship and the Stage Masters Historic Stage Rally Challenge taking place too, a near capacity 180 car entry is expected.

Andreas Mikkelsen said: “I have some really good memories from my win in 2006, in the very beginning of my life as a rally driver. I will never ever forget that event! It was a fantastic event and the stages were great – some of them I get to have fun on when the WRC visits. Even when starting Wales Rally GB, it still boosts me that I have this valuable experience on these roads. I’m very honoured that, even after all these years, there is an award named after me. Naming it the ‘Stars of the Day Award’ certainly puts a bit of pressure on! Best of luck to all the competitors, I can promise you a great time when you drive these stages, and maybe you will be awarded as the star this year! Again, wishing you a great rally!

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Over the years we’ve had many famous names enter and win the event now known as the Nicky Grist Stages. Andreas was the youngest ever winner and so it is right that we award the Andreas Mikkelsen Trophy to the Star Driver in the Rally First category. The award isn’t just about pace on the stages it encompasses teamwork, comradeship and determination to succeed, traits Andreas shows in his WRC campaign. Along with the Spirit of the Rally award it is one of the hardest awards to win. Good luck to all those eligible!

Nicky Grist said: “To have a WRC star like Andreas Mikkelsen on the winner’s trophy is a tremendous honour for the event. To win at such a young age was a fantastic achievement, and it’s entirely appropriate to mark such an historic British national rally victory with an award named after Andreas. We’ve had some very worthy winners of the Rally First ‘Stars of the Day’ Andreas Mikkelsen Award over the last eight years, and I’d like to wish all those who are eligible the very best of luck for this year.

 

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

Nicky Grist Stages receives 100 entries in just five days

Quinton Motor Club has received a record-breaking 100 entries in just five days for the Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July). The event Regulations and Entry forms were only published on-line at www.nickygriststages.co.uk on Monday, which sparked an unprecedented response from competitors.

Already entered is the current leader of the MSA British Rally Championship Fredrik Åhlin (Fiesta R5) – along with this CA1 Sport stable-mates David Bogie, Tom Preston (both ŠKODA Fabia R5) and Alex Laffey (Fiesta R5). Spencer Sport has entered a Fiesta R5 for Tom Cave and its Mitsubishi Mirage for Jamie Jukes, while Ollie Mellors (Proton Satria Neo S2000) and Desi Henry (Fabia R5) also have confirmed entries. Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series drivers Stephen Petch (Fiesta R5+), Karl Simmons (Subaru S11 WRC), Gavin Edwards (Escort Mk2) and Luke Francis and Wayne Sissons (both Mitsubishi Evo) are also already on the list, while Dessie Nutt has entered his historic Porsche 911. Other interesting early entries include Julian Reyonlds in his ex-Marcus Gronholm 2006 Wales Rally GB winning Focus WRC and Richard Burns’ godson, Tom Williams, in a Fiesta R1.

This year’s Builth Wells-based Nicky Girst Stages runs over two days, with a 45 mile planned route on gravel for competitors in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, HRCR Stage Masters Challenge, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, ANWCC Historic Stage Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge on Saturday 9 July. The MSA British Rally Championship crews will continue the following day (Sunday 10 July), with another 60 miles on Tarmac.

The closing date for entries is 5 July and the maximum number of entries is 180.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “I’m delighted and overwhelmed at the level of response to the entries received to date. We received our one hundredth entry today, which is unbelievable. We are working hard with the MSA and Natural Resources Wales to ensure our original route is available.

 

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

Entries now open for the 2016 Nicky Grist Stages!

Entries are now open for the Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July) – with the official event Regulations and Entry forms published on-line at www.nickygriststages.co.uk.

2016 celebrates the 36th running of Quinton Motor Club’s forest stage rally, the 29th consecutive year of it hosting a round of the BTRDA Rally Series, the sixth year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports and its maiden appearance as a round of the MSA British Rally Championship.

The big change for 2016 is that the event is actually two rallies – a one day gravel event in the forests on the Carmarthenshire and Powys border on Saturday 9 July for competitors in the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, HRCR Stage Masters Challenge, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, ANWCC Historic Stage Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge, and a two day mixed-surface event for crews contesting the MSA British Rally Championship – with the second day on Sunday 10 July run exclusively on Tarmac over the fantastic Epynt military ranges.

Crews registered for the aforementioned championships are able to enter the Nicky Grist Stages now, thus confirming their place on the starting list. Non-championship registered crews will be able to enter from 13 June. The closing date for entries is 5 July and the maximum number of entries is 180.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “A lot of hard work and planning has gone into this year’s event. Accommodating the needs of the various championships was never going to be easy, but I believe we will be putting on a feast of rallying across the two days that will be enjoyed by the competitors, volunteer officials and spectators alike.

Nicky Grist said: “The Nicky Grist Stages has become a highlight of the year for all rally enthusiasts, both competitors and supporters alike. I am now into my sixth year of sponsorship of the event. This year I am delighted that the event has been chosen to be a round of the revamped MSA British Rally Championship in its return to the sport we all love. The inclusion of our rally in this championship is just reward for all the hard work and dedication that the successful organising team from Quinton Motor Club have put in over many years. This success was acknowledged last year when the event was voted the best round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh National Championship and shortlisted for the best event award in the BTRDA Series.

 

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

Nicky Grist Stages to give fans a BRC, BTRDA, Welsh and historic championship super rally weekend

This summer’s Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July) is the only event to host a round of both the MSA British Rally Championship and BTRDA rally series – and with other major championships like the MSA Welsh Rally Championship and the Stage Masters Historic Stage Rally Challenge taking place too, it promises to be a truly super rally weekend for fans.

While Formula 1 supporters will be at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix the same weekend, British rally fans will be heading to the famous Epynt military ranges, bordering Carmarthenshire and Powys, for two days of outstanding rally action, organised by Quinton Motor Club. The first day (Saturday 9 July) will be run over 45 miles of challenging gravel roads, while the second day (Sunday 10 July) will take place over 55 miles of fast and undulating Tarmac.

The MSA British Rally Championship crews will contest the full two days – with drivers such as Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta R5), David Bogie (ŠKODA Fabia R5) and Keith Cronin (Citroën DS3 R5) competing on gravel and Tarmac. On the Saturday, centralised servicing will be located at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, while on the Sunday there will be a remote service on the Epynt ranges. All stages will be run in daylight.

All other championships, including the BTRDA rally series, will run on the Saturday (9 July) only, with four gravel stages run twice. The Nicky Grist Stages has been consistent in the top three BTRDA events for the last five years, winning the BTRDA ‘Rally of the Year’ award twice, and last year it was nominated as the best Pirelli Welsh National event. Quinton Motor Club is committed to giving the BTRDA competitors the same level of excellence that they have become accustomed to, and therefore it is retaining its 2015 stage mileage and increasing the entry fee by only £10.

Entries will open on 16 May – the Monday after the Plains Rally – when registered championship crews will be able to confirm their place on the starting list. Non-championship registered crews will be able to enter from 13 June. The closing date for entries is 5 July and the maximum number of entries is 180.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Value for money, we believe we are offering the BTRDA competitors something really good in keeping the entry fee to within £10 of its 2015 level and maintaining a stage mileage of as near to 45 stage miles as we can get it. We are very proud to be a round of the British Rally Championship, but we remain fully focused on giving the BTRDA competitors a fantastic event too. The Nicky Grist Stages is the only event to be a round of both the BRC and BTRDA, and with other top championship contenders taking part, it should also be a wonderful event for spectators too.

Nicky Grist said: “This year’s rally will be an exciting challenge for all crews, but more so for the BRC competitors. The split of two different surfaces over the two days could possibly give us a different outcome to the overall results, but will also be a challenge for the service crews, as they will have a full suspension change after Saturday’s gravel stages. This event format is certainly a break from the norm, and is a throwback to events in the early eighties.

Entry forms will be available in May on www.nickygriststages.co.uk

Nicky Grist brings a well-known rally voice to the GoSafe “20mph Rule Outside Schools” campaign

One of Britain’s best known and most successful rally co-drivers, Nicky Grist – and the pace note voice on the Colin McRae Rally PlayStation and Xbox games – is lending his support to this month’s GoSafe “20mph Rule Outside Schools” campaign.

The Welshman scored 17 (of his 21) World Rally victories with McRae – eight with Subaru (including the 1997 RAC Rally) and nine with Ford. He has also co-driven for Juha Kankkunen, Armin Schwarz and Malcolm Wilson, culminating in 48 podium finishes during a glittering World Rally Championship career. Living in Abergavenny, he now owns Nicky Grist Motorsports – a highly successful company that is dedicated to supplying the very best in motorsport safety equipment. Nicky’s passion for helping to keep competitors safe on racing circuits and rally stages is mirrored by his belief that driving at speed is strictly for a control motorsport environment only, and definitely not for the open public road.

The “20mph Rule Outside Schools” campaign is being re-launched in June to focus on making roads safer in communities. It is principally aimed at reducing risk to young persons and supporting local communities, and GoSafe, the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, will be enforcing in 20mph areas outside schools, educating drivers about the importance of adhering to the relevant speed limit.

Chris Hume, Partnership Manager, GoSafe said: “Our continued focus on 20mph limits around schools is part of our commitment to safer communities, and to protect the most vulnerable road users; our children. 20mph speed limits are a routine part of everyday driving now, but we still see flagrant discard of those limits, particularly at key times such as when children are going to and from schools. We want the support of all drivers, and we want compliance with 20mph limits to become the norm. Our aim is for everyone in Wales to understand the effects that those exceeding the 20mph limit can have on family and friends.

Nicky Grist said: “The lives that we all lead today just seem to get busier and faster, but regardless of the pace of modern day life it is absolutely essential that we don’t take risks on the open public road. I’ve lived life on the edge during my motorsport career, but nothing scares me more than motorists who speed and don’t pay enough attention behind the steering wheel. It’s essential that we all slow down and adhere to speed limits, especially around schools – and that’s why I’m delighted to support the “20mph Rule Outside Schools” campaign. It’s a very worthy, and potentially life-saving, cause that we should all champion.