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