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