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Nicky Grist gives a personal insight into this year’s ‘super-smooth’ Nicky Grist Stages forest rally route

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This year’s Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 13 July) is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of title sponsorship support from Nicky Grist Motorsports – and the man himself has been a vital component in the event’s success over the years, both in terms of backing and his invaluable guidance on planning the route and timetable from a competitor’s point of view.

And Nicky says that this year’s Quinton MC-organised event, which contains eight stages (four repeated) totalling 43 stage miles in the classic Mid-Wales forest stages in the Carmarthenshire-Powys border area, will be one of the best – as the stages are in super-smooth condition.

Nicky Grist said: “This year’s Nicky Grist Stages has a fantastic opening stage, Crychan. At just over nine miles, it’s the longest stage of the event and one of the longest in the BTRDA Series, and competitors aiming for a good result will need to go hard and fast from the very beginning. As it’s the only rally that will use Crychan this year, the road is in excellent condition. It’s a stage were drivers and co-drivers can really get their teeth into, as the road is super-smooth. There is a lot of variety too, with many junctions, twisty sections and some fast and flowing sections. It’s a gem of a Mid-Wales stage, one of the best stages you can find, and like all the stages competitors get to do it twice, as it’s repeated in the afternoon.

Next up is Halfway. All the forestry stages in and around the Epynt military range have a similar feel, but all have their own very subtle characteristics, and Halfway is no exception. It’s a shorter stage, but there is plenty to keep crews focused and there are opportunities to make up time, and lose time if you’re not careful.

The Monument stage returns for the first time since 2017. We like to change the route and give competitors something a little different each year, so this classic gravel Epynt stage returns while Route 60 is being re-surfaced. This stage is rarely used and is in magnificent condition.

The fourth and final stage on the loop is Llyn Login. This was used on the event for the first time last year, and is back by popular demand. The great majority of the stage will be run in the opposite direction, making it a brand new challenge for crews. It finishes on the eastern side of the ranges, so from there it’s a short drop down into Builth Wells for midday service – before all four stages are repeated in the afternoon.

I’m also delighted that the event is moving lock, stock and barrel into the centre of Builth Wells. The Royal Welsh Showground has served us well over the years, but it’s meant that the event has always been a bit hidden away from people. With the support of Builth Wells Town Council and Powys County Council, Rally Headquarters has moved into the fabulous Strand Hall in Strand Street, the Start, Finish and Service Area is located at the Builth Wells RFC in Groe Park, the trailer park and a re-fuelling zone will be at the town’s Cattle Market car park and Scrutineering will be at North Road Garage. In terms of promotion and visibility, all these developments takes the event to another level, which can only be of greater benefit to rally crews, rally sponsors and the businesses and people of Builth Wells. It’s a real win-win situation.

This will be the 32nd consecutive year that the Nicky Grist Stages will host a round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series. The event will count towards the BTRDA Gold Star, BTRDA Silver Star, BTRDA Production Cup, BTRDA 1400, BTRDA Rally First, BTRDA Historic Cup, BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup and the Fiesta ST Trophy, plus the Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the HRCR Stage Masters Challenge.

Following the success of last year, competitors in the 1400, Rally First and H1/2 Historic classes will once again run first on the road in the first batch of cars in reverse order, followed by the rest of the field in a second batch, running in number order.

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

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