BTRDA Rally Series leader Callum Black targets Nicky Grist Stages wins – before staying on Epynt for Tarmac practice

Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series leader Callum Black is aiming for victory on the Nicky Grist Stages – and after contesting the all-gravel qualifying round on Saturday 8 July, the 586 Sports-prepared Ford Fiesta R5+ driver will remain in mid-Wales for the following day’s Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (Sunday 9 July); giving him invaluable Tarmac rally practice and a chance of more points over the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship ‘double-header’ weekend event.

The talented 25-year old DMACK Tyres and PFC Brakes supported driver from Brackley in Northamptonshire is enjoying a great first full season in a four-wheel drive car, with a fourth, third and two second place finishes in the BTRDA Rally Series. After four rallies, he holds a 10 point lead at the top the Gold Star drivers’ standings heading into the Builth Wells-based event, with Ruthin’s Hugh Hunter (Fiesta R5) second and Bishop Auckland’s Stephen Petch (Fiesta WRC) a further seven points behind in third. The closeness of the battle for the overall title is echoed in all the classes, with a total of 124 drivers having scored points in this year’s BTRDA Rally Series.

Black knows the forest sections of the Nicky Grist Stages quite well, having contested the event before in a Citroën DS3 R3T Max (finishing first in class in 2015) and in a MG ZR 1400S. With the all-gravel BTRDA Rally Series qualifying round on Saturday 8 July, Black and co-driver Elliott Edmondson will stay on to contest the asphalt Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally the following day. Black has rallied over the famous Epynt military range Tarmac stages just once before, finishing a very impressive 12th overall on the 2011 Harry Flatters Rally in a Suzuki Swift S1600.

Both days will offer Black a unique opportunity to compare his pace against the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship regulars – as well as scoring points in the MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship. He is currently fifth in the English series after two rounds, and the two Quinton Motor Club organised events count as a ‘double-header’, with full championship points awarded at the end of each day.

Black said: “We’ve had some very good results in this year’s BTRDA Rally Series, but we’d like to get a few wins in to help with our end-of-season score when dropped scores come into play, so we’ll be pushing for the top step of the podium on the Nicky Grist Stages. I’ve done the event before, but this is the first time we’re going to tackle the stages in a four-wheel drive car. All-wheel drive suits my driving style better than two-wheel drive, so I’m looking forward to returning to the classic Monument, Route 60, Halfway and Crychan stages in the Fiesta R5. Whilst scoring BTRDA points is our main objective, it will also be a great opportunity to compare my pace with the British Rally Championship crews, as that’s the series we’ll like to move up and contest next year.

It’s brilliant that there is a Tarmac rally the following day, and we’re going to stay on and contest the Acropolis Rally on the Sunday. I’ve only ever rallied a four-wheel drive car on Tarmac for six miles, and that was on the asphalt section of this year’s Somerset Stages, so it will be very good practice. Once again, we’ll be able to match our times directly with the cream of the BRC crop, as well as trying to strengthen our position in the English Rally Championship. The Nicky Grist Stages should be a fantastic couple of days of competition, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm from Callum for the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, and we hope that more of the BTRDA competitors join him and take on the challenge of the infamous Epynt asphalt roads. This year’s event is shaping up to be an epic, and with the likes of Damian Cole entered in his stunning Escort it will be interesting to see how they’ll fare against the BRC runners. Could we be in for a few surprises?

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

A rally within a rally: tremendous Epynt Tarmac test awaits Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally crews on the Nicky Grist Stages

The Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (Sunday 9 July), a stand-alone rally within the Nicky Grist Stages, will be a fantastic Tarmac test for competitors as the event offers 12 fantastic stages totalling just over 72 stage miles over the Epynt military range – and as it’s open to a huge variety of cars, it’s going to be a real rally treat for both crews and spectators alike. Competitor information and entry forms are now available at www.nickygriststages.co.uk.

The Quinton Motor Club organised all-asphalt event is open to competitors with MSA National B Stage Rally licences and above. Not only will crews in the prestigious Prestone MSA British Rally Championship be competing, the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally will also be a round of the MAXXIS MSA English Championship. The event is likely to attract Tarmac experts, Epynt specialists, those eager for a new challenge and others wanting to practice for forthcoming events, like the MSA British Historic Rally Championship crews who plan to contest the Stephens & George Printing Harry Flatters Rally over the same roads three weeks later (30 July).

Competitors will also benefit from a recce of Epynt’s asphalt stages and subjective route notes will be available from Patterson Pacenotes.

Llandysul-based rally team Spencer Sport will sponsor the special one-day Sunday rally, and the Acropolis Rally name harks back to one of Quinton MC’s earliest and most popular events. Soon after the club was formed in 1959 it ran (amongst others) the Acropolis Rally from the mid-1960s onwards, becoming a hugely popular Welsh Championship night road rally. It has not taken place in that format since 1986, and the club last used the name for a single venue stage event at Wheaton Aston in the late 1980s. And so, after an absence of over 25 years, the Acropolis Rally name returns to Quinton MC’s events calendar.

Early entries for the 2017 Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally include Tarmac expert Damian Cole/Den Golding (Ford Escort), Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series leader Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta R5+) and experienced Pat Naylor/Ian Lawrence (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9).

And don’t forget, the day before (Saturday 8 July) will see a 45 stage mile all-gravel rally in the forests of Monument, Halfway, Crychan and Route 60 for competitors in the BRC, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, BTRDA 1400 Championship, BTRDA Rally First, Fiesta ST Trophy, MG ZR Rally Challenge, FMP Rally Challenge and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship.

Also 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 at Quinton Motor Club are delighted to be able to offer the clubman competitor the opportunity to compete on the asphalt element of the Nicky Grist Stages through the Spencer Sport Acropolis Stages, a specific event for all those clubman that enjoy the challenges of the Epynt ranges and those fighting to be crowned the MAXXIS MSA English Champion. We also welcome Spencer Sport as an event sponsor and we thank Charlie Jukes for his support for our event.

Ian Butcher, Nicky Grist Stages Rally Manager, said: “It personally gives me great pleasure to see the Acropolis name being revived as I was Clerk of the Course for several years when was it was a night event, in the heyday of Welsh road rallying. It will be great to see some of our local crews mixing with the hotshots of the BRC over the legendary Epynt asphalt. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our Sunday event.

Nicky Grist said: “I hope competitors takes advantage of the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, as it’s a wonderful opportunity for crews to do a proper recce of Epynt’s famous Tarmac roads, including from Four Ways Bridge all the way up the New Road. Crews will be pushing hard for points in the MSA British and English Championships, so it’s a unique opportunity to compare yourself with some of the best rally drivers in the UK – and it’s also perfect timing for those who want to go out and practice for the Harry Flatters. All-in-all, the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally should be a fantastic event for crews and spectators.

Charlie Jukes, MD of Spencer Sport, said: “As a South Wales-based operation, we are keen to see rallying thrive in our area and therefore, Spencer Sport is delighted to be involved with the revival of this historic Quinton Motor Club event. Our support for the Nicky Grist Stages includes an exclusive spectator and hospitality area located on the Epynt military ranges. To help boost corporate involvement and showcase the sport to a wider audience, we are offering companies and guests a chance to take a table in our marquee for lunch and to watch the cars in action from a specially reserved vantage point.

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

Brettex Site Services generously helps the Nicky Grist Stages raise funds for Tirabad and Brecon charities

Brettex Site Services – the title sponsor of up-and-coming British rally star Rhys Yates – is helping this year’s Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) raise funds for two local charities by generously agreeing to pay for the print cost of the event programme.

Money raised by selling the event programmes is split evenly each year between the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Group – with charity representatives manning the entry to the spectator car parking areas. Last year 750 programmes were printed, raising much-appreciated funds.

Not only will Brettex Site Services’ kind contribution be warmly welcome behind the scenes, on the stages it hopes that Chesterfield-based Rhys and co-driver Carl Williamson will pick up some valuable Prestone MSA British Rally Championship points, as they aim for a top finish in their Ford Fiesta R5.

In addition, the annual collection at competitors’ signing on, together with a donation from the event-organising Quinton Motor Club, will be given to the Welsh Air Ambulance.

John Yates, MD of Brettex Site Services, said: “Brettex Site Services has long been a supporter of various charities and events across the motorsport fraternity so we are very proud to be able to help the local community on the Nicky Grist Stages. The team really enjoyed the event last year and it was a great test of everyone’s abilities with the mixed surface format. We are certainly looking forward to coming back again this July.

Rhys Yates said: “We had one of our better BRC results on the Nicky Grist Stages in 2016 with seventh overall, so it would be nice to think that we can better that this time around. We had a great start to the season and were fourth in the championship after the opening two rounds, so the aim will undoubtedly be to see if we can start knocking on the door of the podium positions on the Nicky Grist.

Ian Butcher, Nicky Grist Stages Rally Manager, said: “We’d very much like to thank Brettex Site Services for its support of this year’s Nicky Grist Stages and the wonderful contribution it is making to the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Group. Brettex really wanted its sponsorship of the event to mean something, and its generosity will be very much appreciated by the two local charities the Nicky Grist Stages annually supports.

Rhys Yates’s 2017 BRC programme is also backed by Michelin, Protyre, Kick Motorsport, Simpson, Zenith Racing, Prestone, Draper Tools, Jordan Road Surfacing, PIAA and NGK Spark Plugs.

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

Welsh rugby international Scott Williams helps launch the 2017 Nicky Grist Stages and GoSafe alliance

Welsh rugby international Scott Williams helped launch this year’s alliance between the Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) and Go Safe – Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, which is aimed at making sure all those who attend this year’s event drive sensibly and safely on the public highway.

Scott, who won the Guinness Pro12 Final with the Scarlets Rugby last weekend and goes on the summer tour of the South Pacific Islands with the Welsh Rugby Union, is not just a keen motorsport fan, he owns Scott Williams Motorsport, a Lampeter-based team that builds and runs rally cars. It’s a highly successful team too – one of Scott’s Escort Mk2s currently leads the highly competitive Irish Historic Tarmac Championship.

This is the fourth year that the Nicky Grist Stages (a round of 10 rally championships, including the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship) and GoSafe have teamed up together, in what has proven to be a very successful partnership. GoSafe will once again have a highly visible roadside presence around the rally’s host town of Builth Wells and routes around the Epynt military ranges. GoSafe’s aim is educating motorists, preventing motoring offences and making people safer on Welsh roads by reducing casualties and saving lives. It isn’t just about speed camera enforcement either – its officers will be encouraging people to drive responsibly and sensibly, wear seatbelts and not overtake on solid white lines. This year’s Nicky Grist Stages takes place just before a two-week campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of using hand-held mobile ‘phones – and GoSafe will be on the event giving out CELLslip pouches which you can put your mobile ‘phone into whilst in your car, which disconnects the signal without you having to adjust any of the ‘phone settings.

Sergeant Ian Price from Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Working with Nick Grist and other motorsports organisations within GoSafe, it’s important that we can interact with their supporters and try to encourage safer driving on the roads. If fans want to drive like rally drivers, there are many motorsport clubs they can join and we appeal to them to not drive like rally drivers on the highway. If they do, they’ll inevitably either become a victim themselves or cause another person to become a victim – and when it comes to death by dangerous driving, you’re looking at fourteen years in prison if you’re convicted. I’ve seen too many lives ruined because of erratic, irresponsible driving. You do get people, especially the young, influenced by motorsport and what they see in films, and they don’t see the consequences of what those risks can present later.

The GoSafe Partnership, as with any camera partnership, has traditionally been speed enforcement and trying to encourage people to drive slower, but road casualties are not just caused by speeding. It can be inappropriate driving, dangerous driving, overtaking on solid white lines and driving whilst operating a hand held mobile ‘phone. They might even be driving safely and not wearing a seatbelt and we know that if everyone wore seatbelts, we could halve the number of fatalities we see on our roads. Motorists need to consider the range of offences the GoSafe camera vans can pick up. We work closely with the national campaigns, like the mobile ‘phone and seatbelt campaigns, and we will have a highly visible presence on this year’s Nicky Grist Stages. We don’t want to catch anyone committing an offence, we’d rather everyone drives safely and lawfully.

Scott Williams said: “I jumped at the opportunity to show my support to the Nicky Grist Stages and the GoSafe Partnership. It’s important that people drive safely to and from motorsport events, because we want everyone to enjoy themselves and have a great day out – and leave driving flat-out to the competitors on the stages. When you compete on a stage rally it’s on a closed road, you know that nothing will be driving towards you and you’re in an extremely strong car that’s been built with all the motorsport safety equipment. Living in west Wales I do a lot of miles on the road each year, driving to rugby matches and training camps and driving to motorsport events with my own Scott Williams Motorsport team. It’s important that you drive sensibly on the public road and not only keep yourself safe, but other road users safe as well.

Nicky Grist said: “Stage rallying gives competitors the opportunity to drive at speed in a controlled manner, but the long-term benefits of rallying in general are not just about what happens on the stages. You need those same competitors, their service crews, all the event officials and all the spectators to drive safely and responsibly on the public road. That’s what gives the local residence, who are perhaps not interested in motorsport and who are going about their normal weekend business, the perception of what’s going on. The partnership between GoSafe and the Nicky Grist Stages is about creating a very positive perception and to help keep road users, both involved in the event and those who are not, safe. And if anyone is inspired by the speed and skill of the drivers competing on the Nicky Grist Stages, getting involved in motorsport is a great way to test your driving ability in a safe and controlled environment. Never do it on the public road.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Our relationship with GoSafe has gone from strength to strength and Quinton Motor Club are thrilled this has carried over to a fourth year. We are keen to show the local communities we travel through that we take their safety as importantly as those of the competitors out on the stages, and this partnership helps us with this. Every year we ask GoSafe for feedback and I am delighted to say that they are always very complimentary about the behaviour of our competitors, officials and spectators.

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

Nicky Grist Stages entries open, as fine-tuned route provides magnificent gravel and Tarmac challenge

Entries are now open for the Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) – with the official event Regulations and Entry forms published on-line at nickygriststages.co.uk.

2017 celebrates the 37th running of Quinton Motor Club’s forest stage rally, the 30th consecutive year of it hosting a round of the BTRDA Rally Series and the seventh year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports. Following its maiden success last year, the Nicky Grist Stages remains the only mixed-surface round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, with a fine-tuned route for 2017 giving competitors a magnificent gravel and Tarmac challenge and spectators a weekend-long festival of top class rally action.

Competitors have a choice of three events to enter – a gravel National B stage rally on the Saturday (8 July), a Tarmac National B stage rally on the Sunday (9 July) and a two-day (8-9 July) mixed-surface National A stage rally. All of which is fantastic news for spectators, who’ll have 10 different championships and up to 180 cars to watch competing on some of the best forest and Tarmac stages in the UK.

Both the gravel route on the Saturday and the Tarmac course the following day have been revised – with Saturday containing eight gravel stages (a loop of four run twice), separated by a midday service at the Royal Welsh Showground. The Monument, Halfway and a longer Crychan stage will be run in the opposite direction to last year, leaving Route 60 as the only unaltered test. In total there will be 45 stage miles of gravel for competitors in the BRC, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, BTRDA 1400 Championship, BTRDA Rally First, Fiesta ST Trophy, MG ZR Rally Challenge, FMP Rally Challenge and ANWCC Forest Rally Championship.

Sunday will see a revised Tarmac route, with a further 12 stages totalling 72 miles over the famous roads of the Epynt military ranges. In a change to 2016, this year will see two loops of three stages in the morning and two loops of three different stages in the afternoon, separated by a lunchtime service at the Royal Welsh Showground. In addition to Sunday being the second Nicky Grist Stages day of the BRC, there will also be a separate event called the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, which is part of the MAXXIS MSA English Championship double-header weekend and open to all other National B stage rally competitors.

In line with MSA requirements, competitors on these rallies will be seeded together in their order of expected performance on both the Saturday and Sunday.

Not only will rally fans be able to see the BRC cars in high-speed action on two surfaces, 20 stages and over 117 miles, there will also be a two hour service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground on the Saturday night, when teams change car set-up from gravel to Tarmac – a sight to behold for those mechanically minded and a great opportunity for driver autograph hunters. The finish ceremony will take place in Builth Wells shortly after 16.00 on the Sunday.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We’ve acted upon all the feedback we received from competitors following last year’s event, and we hope that the changes that we have made to this year’s route will be to everyone’s liking. The Nicky Grist Stages really is blessed with some fantastic roads, and we’ve tried hard to make best use of the available gravel and Tarmac stages. We’ve once again created a 45 stage mile route on the Saturday for the BTRDA, Welsh and other championships, which is a great challenge on some fabulous forest roads. Following on from lessons learnt last year, Sunday’s Tarmac event will start later to allow the Army to clear the ranges, should any of its overnight exercises overrun. Crews will then do two loops of three stages before a service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground, and another three stages done twice in the afternoon. This format will make Sunday’s stages run a lot more efficiently, yet provide competitors with the very best challenge Epynt can throw at them and make it a truly tremendous day out for the spectators.

Nicky Grist said: “This year’s route is going to be absolutely fantastic for each and every competitor, with some great viewing points for spectators. We’re very lucky to have some of the best forestry stages on our doorstep, and the gravel part of the event will feel similar to last year – albeit with three of the four stages run in the opposite direction. The next day on Tarmac has been designed to flow and breathe a lot better. Cars will still run at thirty-second intervals, but the stage layouts and timetable will make it much better for crews and spectators. As the only mixed-surface round of the British Rally Championship, this year’s event will be a true rally challenge.

In association with Spencer Sport, Nicky Grist Stages VIP Hospitality packages are available for both 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.

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

10 rally championships come to Builth Wells this summer for the economy-boosting Nicky Grist Stages

This summer’s Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) will play host to no less than 10 different rally championships – highlighting not only what a major sporting attraction the event now is, but also a major boost for the economy of Builth Wells, Llanelwedd and the nearby Powys and Carmarthenshire towns and villages.

Organised by Quinton Motor Club, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages is, for the second year running, the only event to host a round of both the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship and Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series – meaning that Britain’s best rally drivers will be coming to the region. It is also a round of eight other championships too, including the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Championship, BTRDA Rally First, Fiesta ST Trophy and FMP Rally Challenge – attracting the best regional and young up-and-coming drivers to mid-Wales.

The event will be based at the Royal Welsh Showground, with around 45 loose-surface stage miles planned for Saturday (8 July) in the forests of Crychan, Halfway, Route 60 and Monument. Only around a quarter of the forest stage miles will be held on Natural Resources Wales land, helping to keep the cost of running and participating on the event down. Sunday (9 July) will see a further 75 asphalt stage miles over the famous fast, undulating and spectacular Epynt military ranges.

To accommodate all 10 rally championships over the two day rally festival, there will be effectively three rallies in one. The split is as follows:

 

Nicky Grist Stages BRC (two day Saturday and Sunday event)

  • Prestone MSA British Rally Championship
  • FMP Rally Challenge

 

Nicky Grist Stages (one day Saturday event)

  • Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series
  • Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship
  • MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship
  • BTRDA 1400 Championship
  • BTRDA Rally First
  • Fiesta ST Trophy
  • MG ZR Rally Challenge
  • FMP Rally Challenge
  • ANWCC Forest Rally Championship

 

Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (one day Sunday event)

  • MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship
  • FMP Rally Challenge

 

The Sunday rally will be sponsored by Llandysul-based rally team Spencer Sport, and will be known as the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally – which pays homage to one of the very earliest events ever organised by Quinton MC. Soon after the club was formed in 1959, Quinton MC ran (amongst others) the Acropolis Rally from the mid-1960s onwards. It became a hugely popular Welsh Championship night road rally, however it has not taken place in this format since 1986. The club last used the name for a single venue stage event at Wheaton Aston for three years in the late 1980s. So, after an absence of over 25 years, the Acropolis Rally name returns to Quinton MC’s events calendar for 2017.

For the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship crews, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages will be a challenging two-day mixed surface event. For the MAXXIS MSA English Championship competitors, the event will be a double-header, with points awarded after day one and day two.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Having so many of the top championships wanting the Nicky Grist Stages to be included in their calendar is a great honour for the event and a testament of the challenge the event will pose. We learnt a great deal from last year’s event and we are planning a truly fantastic experience for all our competitors, regardless of championship. On a personal note it is pleasing that we can bring back an iconic name in Quinton MC’s rallying history. As an organiser I started with both the D’Isis and Acropolis Rallies, and to bring back the Acropolis Rally name evokes many wonderful memories.

Nicky Grist said: “When I started sponsoring the Nicky Grist Stages, I did not imagine that we would become a qualifying event for ten different championships. This is testimony to the hard work of all the main officials and Quinton Motor Club, who work really hard to make it, what it is fair to say, the biggest rally in the UK behind Wales Rally GB. The Sunday format has change to accommodate the Acropolis Rally, and twelve stages in a day will offer a real challenge.

Nicky Grist Stages wins prestigious 2016 BTRDA ‘Rally of the Year’ award

The Nicky Grist Stages has won the prestigious Bill Turner Trophy for the Best Event in the 2016 Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series.

It’s the fourth time that the Quinton Motor Club-organised rally has won the award, having lifted the trophy in 2005, 2010 and 2012. It has also been nominated as one of the top three best organised BTRDA Rally Series events for the last six years in succession.

Luke Francis/John Roberts (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) scored BTRDA Rally Series victory on the Nicky Grist Stages last year, finishing over a minute ahead of Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta R5+), with Paul Benn/Richard Cooke (Ford Focus WRC02) coming home in third. Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta) led until electrical problems put them out, although that didn’t stop them becoming 2016 BTRDA Rally Series champions at season end.

In addition to the BTRDA ‘Rally of the Year’ award, which was presented to Quinton MC at the recent BTRDA awards evening at the Ramada Hotel in Sutton Coldfield, the 2016 Nicky Grist Stages also won the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship Event of the Year award.

Quinton MC is currently busy finalising route details for this year’s Nicky Grist Stages – which will run over the weekend of 8-9 July. 2017 celebrates the 37th running of Quinton MC’s forest stage rally, the 30th consecutive year of it hosting a round of the BTRDA Rally Series, the seventh year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports and its second appearance as a round of the MSA British Rally Championship. Based at the Royal Welsh Showground near Builth Wells, this year’s event will retain its popular 2016 two-day mixed surface format, with gravel stages in the forests on the Saturday (8 July), and BRC crews continuing over the Tarmac stage of Epynt on the Sunday (9 July).

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Organising and running an event as big as the Nicky Grist Stages is a team effort and this award is a testimony to the hard work put in by everybody. Last year was the biggest challenge the event has ever faced; bringing three major championships together was tough but maintaining the quality the BTRDA has come to expect was one of our highest priorities and the fact we achieved that and were recognised by the BTRDA with the Bill Turner award for Best Event is something we are all extremely proud of.

Nicky Grist Stages on 8-9 July 2017 adds new national rally to its two-day mixed surface BRC spectacular

Next year’s Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) will host round five of the 2017 MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) – and whilst that will be a two-day mixed surface event, there will also be one-day rounds of other major championships, including the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, run on both the Saturday and Sunday next summer.

Organised by Quinton Motor Club, the date of the 2017 Nicky Grist Stages had been published as 15-16 July, but owing to MOD activities on the Epynt military range, the event will take place one week earlier on 8-9 July – the corresponding weekend to 2016, which saw 162 cars start from the Royal Welsh Showground.

Next year’s event will follow a similar format to 2016, with a mixed-surface two-day rally for the BRC crews. Saturday’s forestry gravel stages, run in the spectacular Carmarthenshire and Powys border region, will also host a round of the BTRDA Rally Series and include the MSA Welsh Rally Championship and the FMP Rally Challenge. Sunday’s stages will be held over the challenging asphalts road of Epynt for the BRC crews, plus at least one other National B event.

Builth Wells will play host to the ceremonial start and finish, the main service area will be in the nearby Royal Welsh Showground and there will be a new remote service area on Epynt on the Sunday.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Whilst the popular two-day gravel on Saturday and Tarmac on Sunday format of next year’s Nicky Grist Stages will be similar to 2016, the event has acted on the excellent and positive feedback received from competitors and will have a slightly different feel to it. We’ve worked closely with Natural Resources Wales and Rally4Wales to introduce some fresh gravel stages, whilst we’re looking at extending the Tarmac stage mileage on day two and also run a National B event on the Sunday as well.

Nicky Grist said: “The gravel route of next year’s Nicky Grist Stages is pretty much all confirmed, and we are truly blessed to have some of the very best forestry stages in Wales right on our doorstep. We’ll have a different route layout for the Sunday’s asphalt stages, which will allow the event to breathe. We’ll have a later start and a later finish, and we hope to run as much as seventy stage miles on the Sunday. Cars will still start at thirty-second intervals on the Tarmac – this makes it action-packed for the spectators, and has proven to keep the roaming sheep off the road, which is an important safety consideration.

Iain Campbell, BRC Championship Manager, said: “The Nicky Grist Stages proves once and for all that rallying is a team sport. The driver and co-driver may be the stars out on the stages, but the mixed-surface challenge from this rally means that the mechanics are the stars on Saturday night when they only have 180 minutes to change the complete suspension parts, brakes and roll bars on the cars. This year there were a lot of anxious faces around the service park as the end of day service began that were exchanged for high-fives and applause all around each competitor’s area as they all completed the set up change in time. A unique challenge on an event that offers stages with the unique terrain of Eypnt – the Nicky Grist Stages is somewhere the BRC is looking forward to going back to in 2017.

 

2017 MSA British Rally Championship calendar

4-5 March: Mid-Wales Stages (Newtown)

29-30 April: Pirelli Carlisle Rally (Carlisle)

19-20 May: RSAC Scottish Rally (Dumfries)

23-24 June: Ypres Rally (Ypres, Belgium)

8-9 July: Nicky Grist Stages (Builth Wells)

18-19 August: Ulster Rally (Derry/Londonderry)

14-16 September: Rally Isle of Man (Douglas)

 

2017 Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series calendar

11 February: Cambrian Rally (Llandudno)

11 March: Malcolm Wilson Rally (Cockermouth)

8 April: Somerset Stages (Minehead)

13 May: Plains Rally (Welshpool)

10 June: Carlisle Stages Rally (Carlisle)

8 July: Nicky Grist Stages (Builth Wells)

2 September: Woodpecker Stages (Ludlow)

30 September: Trackrod Forest Stages (Pickering)

Nicky Grist Stages confirmed on 2017 BRC calendar

The Nicky Grist Stages has been confirmed as a round of the 2017 MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) and will take place over the weekend of 15-16 July next year.

The Quinton Motor Club organised event hosted a round of the BRC for the first time this year, running as a two-day rally for the first time. Based at the Royal Welsh Showground, it was the only mixed-surface round of the 2016 BRC, with 45 stage miles run on gravel roads on the Carmarthenshire and Powys border on day one, followed by 60 stage miles on Tarmac over the Epynt military ranges on day two. After the challenging format received high praise from BRC competitors, next year’s event will follow a similar layout, with improvements and adjustments introduced following feedback and data collected this year.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Having stepped up to the challenge in 2016 and gaining valuable experience of running a round of the MSA British Rally Championship, we are delighted to be included in the 2017 calendar. The event in 2016 was very well received, and we will take on the feedback we’ve acquired and will strive to improve the event for 2017.

Nicky Grist said: “I am delighted that the BRC has incorporated the Nicky Grist Stages into its 2017 calendar. We learnt a lot after running a two-day event for the first time in 2016, and we are much better equipped and excited about running a better event in 2017.

Iain Campbell, BRC Championship Manager, said: “The feedback we had from competitors about the event’s two-day mixed-surface format, together with the brilliant support we received from event organisers and from Nicky as the sponsor, made putting the Nicky Grist Stages on the 2017 BRC calendar a very easy decision to make. It’s a very appealing event, and we’re looking forward to returning to Builth Wells next July.

 

2017 MSA British Rally Championship calendar

4-5 March: Mid-Wales Stages (Newtown)

29-30 April: Pirelli Carlisle Rally (Carlisle)

19-20 May: RSAC Scottish Rally (Dumfries)

23-24 June: Ypres Rally (Ypres, Belgium)

15-16 July: Nicky Grist Stages (Builth Wells)

18-19 August: Ulster Rally (Derry/Londonderry)

14-16 September: Rally Isle of Man (Douglas)

Elfyn Evans leads the champagne celebrations in Builth Wells after a superb Nicky Grist Stages

Elfyn Evans, co-driven by fellow Welshman Craig Parry, won the 2016 Nicky Grist Stages (9-10 July) in their DMACK British Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 – and celebrated in style by spraying the champagne in Groe Park, Builth Wells, at the end of a gruelling 100 mile event.

It was the first time that the Nicky Grist Stages had hosted a round of the MSA British Rally Championship, and to mark the occasion Quinton Motor Club had organised a 100 mile mixed-surfaced two-day event. With its headquarters at the Royal Welsh Showground, the event had attracted a 180 car capacity entry, with 45 stage miles run on gravel on Saturday and a further 60 miles run on Tarmac over the Epynt military ranges on Sunday.

Quinton Motor Club overcame a number of big challenges – not least the appallingly wet and windy weather conditions, which makes running such a vast outdoor event that much more difficult. Despite this, a large number of spectators braved the conditions – and 150 guests enjoyed a VIP day out at a stage-side hospitality marquee, where they enjoyed superb food, excellent viewing and a host of guest speakers.

The event also raised money for the Tirabad Village Hall, Brecon Rotary Club and the Welsh Air Ambulance, via collections and donations made during the event. Thanks to the generosity of those enjoying the entertainment in the Competitors’ Lounge in Rally HQ on Saturday night, a charity auction also raised over £1,600 for the Gareth Roberts Fund.

The event’s association with the GoSafe Safety Camera Partnership proved to be a big success, with no reported spike in road traffic offences over the weekend period for that region, despite the increase in traffic, and a fairly low number of motorist caught speeding – none of which are currently known to be associated in any way with the event.

In the battle for the BRC title, Evans took the lead of the Nicky Grist Stages on SS3 and never looked back – the Dolgellau driver going on to set a total of 12 fastest stage times to win the event by 1 minute 11.4 seconds and extend his lead at the top of the BRC points table. Aberdyfi’s Tom Cave and co-driver James Morgan made it a Welsh one-two by finishing second in their Spencer Sport Fiesta R5, while Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan (ŠKODA Fabia R5) finished third.

The top three finishers overall, together with the top three DMACK Junior BRC finishers – 1st Robert Duggan/Ger Conway, 2nd Mattias Adielsson/Andreas Johansson (both Vauxhall Adam R2s) and 3rd Sindre Furuseth/Jim Hjerpe (Renault Twingo R2) – plus all the class winners (including Matt Edwards/Will Rogers, who clinched the BRC2 title in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) attended a special finish ceremony in Groe Park. There, on the banks of the River Wye and with Builth Wells’ iconic 18th Century bridge in the background, they were presented with their trophies by the Mayor of Builth Wells, Councillor Meryl Prynne, and the Head of Planning and ICT from Powys County Council, Mrs. Avril York.

Chris Wheeler/Yan Griffiths crashed their Citroen DS3 R3T on SS14, which saw the rapid deployment of the emergency rescue and medical units, and so the results were declared final after 15 of the 18 scheduled stages. Quinton Motor Club wishes Chris and Yan a full and speedy recovery.

In the battle for points 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 – which ran exclusively over the eight gravel stages on Saturday ­– it was Luke Francis/John Roberts who came out on top, winning by over a minute in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta R5+) and Paul Benn/Richard Cooke (Ford Focus WRC02) finished second and third, after strong trouble-free runs. Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh (Ford Focus WRC) led after SS1, only to lose time with steering issues on SS2 and retiring on SS4 with a holed radiator. BTRDA Gold Star leaders Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta) led for a time too, until electrical problems put them out on SS6. 2013 Nicky Grist Stages winners Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Peugeot 208 T16) retired with a cracked manifold.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Quinton Motor Club has put on another high quality event, and we worked hard on a new mixed-surface two-day format, which was extremely well received by the competitors. The stage safety marshals and all the officials out in the field worked heroically in some pretty appalling weather conditions, and whilst circumstances didn’t allow us to complete the full route, we gave all the competitors a tough event that they certainly rose to the challenge of.

Nicky Grist said: “Not only has it been a challenging event for the crews, the organisers have also had one of the toughest events we’ve had to organise in quite a number of years. The weather and army movements on the ranges were out of our control, but we overcame everything that was thrown at us and put on a fantastic fifteen-stage rally on two different surfaces that crews really enjoyed. We’ve learnt a lot. Next year we will do a few things differently, which will make it a much smoother and an even better event.

 

Nicky Grist Stages – Top 10 Finishers Overall

  1. Elfyn Evans /Craig Parry (Ford Fiesta R5): 1hr 18mins 48.4secs
  2. Tom Cave/James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5): +1m11.4s
  3. Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan (ŠKODA Fabia R5): +2m01.8s
  4. David Bogie/James O’Reilly (ŠKODA Fabia R5): +2m48.5s
  5. Josh Moffett/John Rowan (Ford Fiesta R5): +3m05.9s
  6. Jonathan Greer/Kirsty Riddick (Citroën DS3 R5): +3m08.0s
  7. Rhys Yates/Tom Woodburn (Ford Fiesta R5): +3m30.0s
  8. Jamie Anderson/Ross Whittock (Ford Fiesta R5): +5m38.2s
  9. Ollie Mellors/Ian Windress (Proton Satria Neo S2000): +5m48.7s
  10. Tom Preston/Jack Morton (ŠKODA Fabia R5): +5m58.7s