The Builth Wells-based Nicky Grist Stages has won the prestigious BTRDA Rally Series ‘Rally of the Year Award 2019’ – which was presented to the event organisers, Quinton Motor Club, at the recent British Trial & Rally Driver Association’s annual gala awards ceremony.
Voted for by competitors, the Nicky Grist Stages was praised for the smooth running of the event and the quality of the stages, which last year saw 43 stage miles run in the classic mid-Wales forests of Crychan, Halfway, Monument and Llyn Login. It was a tremendous sporting event, on which the overall winners Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Focus WRC) clinched the 2019 BTRDA Rally Series Gold Star title.
There was also high praise from competitors for the innovations which made last year’s Nicky Grist Stages such a huge success – in particular the move into the centre of Builth Wells, which saw the start and finish in Groe Park and the Service Area located on the Builth Wells RFC pitch, in a stunning setting on the banks of the River Wye, just a stone’s throw away from the town’s main high street and its wonderful array of independent shops, cafes and hardware stores. Rally Headquarters was in Strand Hall on Strand Street for the first time, next to the Service Area, and scrutineering had a new venue too, moving to the superb modern workshop facilities at North Road Garage.
With continued support from Builth Wells Town Council, Powys County Council, Builth Wells RFC, North Road Garage and the people and businesses of Builth Wells, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday 11 July will continue to use all of these facilities. With the rally attracting around 1,000 visitors into Builth Wells for the weekend, the Nicky Grist Stages is rapidly developing into one of the town’s biggest events and a major economic boost to the picturesque market town.
Planning is well underway for the 2020 Nicky Grist Stages, which will once again form part of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship, the new MRF Tyres BTRDA Mixed Surface Championship, the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, the MRF Tyres Fiesta ST Trophy and FMP Rally Challenge.
Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “As Clerk of the Course I am immensely proud that the work of our fantastic team has been recognised by the BTRDA. It’s always an achievement to be in the running for the Rally of the Year Award, and to win it means that the competitors liked what we did!”
Jeremy Pugh, Powys County Council Councillor and Chairman of Builth Wells RFC, said: “This is fantastic news that the Nicky Grist Stages has won such a prestigious award and it’s great that the town of Builth has been an integral part of that. This was the first time that we had hosted the Nicky Grist Stages in the town centre and it has been a huge success in supporting the local economy and the high street and we look forward to working together for many years to come.”
Gwyn Davies, Builth Wells Mayor, said: “What an amazing turnout Builth had for the Nicky Grist Stages event. It brought a lot of trade and visitors into the town and it was an honour for me as the Mayor to start the rally off and to present the awards at the end of the event. I would also like to congratulate Quinton Motor Club on winning the BTRDA Rally of the Year Award 2019 and we are looking forward to welcoming the them back for this year’s rally.”
Nicky Grist said: “I am delighted for Neil Cross and the whole Quinton Motor Club team on this award and I am proud to be associated with them all. Year in and year out the effort that goes into the event is nothing short of staggering. Rest assured that their efforts will not diminish, and in 2020 and beyond they will make the event even better in the years to come.”
2020 MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series calendar
- 8th February: Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally (Llandudno)
- 14th March: Malcolm Wilson Rally (Cockermouth)
- 18th April: Rallynuts Stages Rally (Llanelwedd)
- 6th June: 75th Scottish Rally (Lockerbie)
- 11th July: Nicky Grist Stages (Builth Wells)
- 5th September: Woodpecker Stages (Ludlow)
- 26th September: Trackrod Forest Stages (Filey)