Operation SNAP in action on the Nicky Grist Stages as rally joins forces with the GoSafe Partnership for a fifth year

The Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July) is proud to continue its association with GoSafe – the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, which is encouraging rally fans to help make Wales’ roads safer by getting involved in Operation SNAP.

The event – which is a round of Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, Fiesta ST Trophy, FMP Rally Challenge and the Swift Shining Stars Rally Series – is also proud to help raise awareness of the Fatal Five, a road safety initiative by the Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The Nicky Grist Stages, GoSafe Partnership and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service came together for a special event, along with Osian Pryce and Nicky Grist, at the GoSafe headquarters this week. Spencer Sport kindly brought a Mitsubishi Mirage R5 to be displayed with GoSafe vehicles, with Team Principal Charlie Jukes and Team Co-ordinator James Morgan also in attendance.

Operation SNAP is a response to increasing submissions of video and photographic evidence relating to driving offences that members of the public have witnessed. Until now, these reports have been submitted to the police in all sorts of ways and so a streamlined on-line process has now been developed to deal with them – dramatically reducing valuable police time by making it easier to collect and assess evidence.

The ‘Stay alive, get to know your Fatal Five’ is an initiative by three Welsh Fire and Rescue Services, in partnership with neighbouring local authorities, Road Safety Wales and the four Welsh Police forces, focussing on the five main causes of fatal road traffic collisions in Wales – which are speeding, driving while impaired with alcohol and/or drugs, use of mobile ‘phones, non-use seat belts or careless driving.

The Quinton MC organised Nicky Grist Stages has an excellent road safety and driving standards record, with no increase in road offences registered in recent years, despite the event contributing to an increase in traffic around rally route. This proves that raising awareness of GoSafe Partnership activity in the area where the rally takes place does have a positive effect, making the roads a safer place for all to be – whether it’s rally traffic or the general public going about their unrelated business. This is why the Nicky Grist Stages is keen for the GoSafe team to maintain its presence at the event, as the association is clearly working extremely well.

Teresa Ciano, Chair of Road Safety Wales and GoSafe – the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership Manager, said: “We have worked with the Nicky Grist Stages now for five years and the vast majority of people who follow this fantastic event obey the rules of the road and drive legally – but we still want to work with the event to get that message out there that the rally is for everyone to enjoy and enjoy safely. This year we have also teamed up with the Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to promote the Fatal Five, and to raise awareness of the five main reasons people die on the roads in Wales. One of those reasons is careless driving, and we want to encourage people to drive safely when they travel to and from the event, and between stages.

We will also be promoting Operation SNAP during this year’s Nicky Grist Stages, which is a GoSafe initiative that allows members of the public who have captured footage of illegal driving on their dash cams, or from the side of the road on their mobile ‘phones, to take that digital footage and upload it onto gosafe.org. Ultimately, we all want to go out and enjoy ourselves and not be subjected to other people driving irresponsibly. Operation SNAP has been very successful, and it’s the most effective and efficient way of reporting and dealing with motoring offences for the public.

Nicky Grist said: “The association with GoSafe is a very important one for us at the Nicky Grist Stages, because we can emphasis to the public that we are responsible competitors, officials and spectators. Rally cars tend to be a little bit more noisy and a bit more colourful than your average car, so tend to stand out and sometimes get a little unfair attention on road sections, so this association spreads a good message for other people who are on rally route that we do drive on road sections within the speed limits and that we do obey the rules of the road. Dyfed Powys Police have always been very supportive of rallying and the Nicky Grist Stages has a long and successful relationship with the GoSafe Partnership, and we all benefit from the association.

I’ve been very lucky to go behind the scenes and look at some of the Operation SNAP footage and I’ve been quite shocked at some of the road offences that have been committed. I drive a lot, and I’ve seen the quality of driving getting worse in recent years. Drivers who drive as badly as some of the ones I’ve seen on Operation SNAP deserve to get booked, because it’s completely irresponsible – so it’s a very good initiative. Operation SNAP will, undoubtedly, make our roads safer.

Osian Pryce said: “It’s been an eye opener to see what the GoSafe Partnership does and the work that goes on behind the scenes. It’s interesting to see how much effort is going into keeping Welsh roads safe and how Operation SNAP has streamlined the way the police collect and deal with motoring offences that have been captured by motorists on dash cams. It’s not just about raising awareness to rally spectators – competitors use road sections and have to abide by the rules of the road too, and it’s been a very good reminder that speeding or driving irresponsibly is more and more likely to get you into trouble with the police. The Nicky Grist Stages is a big event, contributing to extra traffic on the roads, so it and the GoSafe Partnership go hand-in-hand and it’s a great way for rallying to help promote better, safer, driving.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Our relationship with GoSafe is unique within the rallying community and this is something Quinton Motor Club is immensely proud of. Helping to promote initiatives such as Operation SNAP shows that we take road safety very seriously, spreading the message amongst our competitors, officials and spectators alike. Taking this forward we welcome the Fire and Rescue Services and are keen to help promote the Fatal Five initiative too.

 

 

Photo caption (from left to right): Andrew Rees, (Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service), Teresa Ciano (GoSafe Partnership Manager), Emyr Davies (Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service), Osian Pryce, Nicky Grist, Sergeant Ian Price (Go Safe Partnership), PC Roger Jones and PC Peter Williams (Go Safe Partnership Enquiry Officers).

BTRDA Rally Series leader Paul Bird aims for his third Nicky Grist Stages victory

Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series leader Paul Bird is aiming to make it three wins this season – and a hat-trick of victories on the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July) – when he contests this year’s event in his Dom Buckley Motorsport/IRS-prepared Ford Focus WRC08.

The Cumbrian driver has won the Nicky Grist Stages twice before, in 2014 and 2015 with Aled Davies co-driving, and in the same Frank Bird Poultry, Be Wiser Insurance, Hager, Fuchs Titan Race and Loco Energy Drink backed car that he’ll drive again next month. Bird is also the Team Owner of the Be Wiser Ducati British Superbike Championship team, and with his rider Shane Byrne side-lined after a big testing crash at Snetterton, it’s now down to Bird himself to win a title for the team. And having won two rallies and finished second twice this season, Bird will arrive at the Nicky Grist Stages 18 points ahead of Russ Thompson in the BTRDA Gold Star Driver standings. Matt Edwards is third in the points table, having also won two events.

Bird will be co-driven by Jack Morton, in what will be their tenth event together since teaming up for the first time on the Pokerstars Rally on the Isle of Man last November. Morton has contested the Nicky Grist Stages twice before, finishing 28th overall in 2015 with Damian Cole in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and 10th overall in 2016 with Tom Preston in a Škoda Fabia R5. Morton, who leads the BTRDA Gold Star Co-driver standings by 17 points, was also a member of the MSA Academy in 2015 and 2016 and worked with co-driver coaches Nicky Grist and Paul Spooner throughout his time at the Academy.

Paul Bird said: “After our wins on the Cambrian and Carlisle Stages rallies, the intention is to make it a third win of the season on the Nicky Grist Stages and to increase our lead in the BTRDA Rally Series. I’ve won the event the last two times I’ve contested it, so I know the stages well and they suit my driving style, so I’m looking forward to it. We have a test beforehand and a few improvements planned for the car also. After my BSB rider Shakey Byrne was ruled out through injury last month, it looks like the onus is on me to deliver a championship this year, so the pressure is on!

Jack Morton said: “I’ve always enjoyed the Nicky Grist Stages every time I’ve done it, especially Route 60 and Crychan stages. They are so much fun and great to co-drive on. I’m very much looking forward to returning to these areas. We come into the event with a good lead in the championship. One of our nearest rivals, Matt Edwards, also has two wins this year, but we have the better consistency record – but it will be tough, as Matt will have good knowledge and experience of the stages, after he’s competed on the BRC version of the event over the last two years. We will have to be on top of our game to come out on top again, but if we don’t we’ll have to make sure we get another good points haul, as points make prizes! I’m really enjoying my year so far alongside Paul; we are now really starting to gel in the car, as proven by our last two results in Barbados and Carlisle, so I think we can go from strength to strength from now on. Having a great team around us like the Dom Buckley IRS lads, who produce an faultless car every event for us, is only helping us every time. It was also a great experience to be in the MSA Academy, especially as I grew up watching Colin McRae and listening to Nicky’s voice for so many years – it was quite surreal that I was working with him, and that he was my mentor, at the Academy.

Organised by Quinton MC, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages takes place over 45 stage miles in the forests of Halfway, Route 60, Crychan and a brand new smooth, fast and flowing stage which has never been used for rallying before. The event will be based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, and with up to 180 cars allowed to start the event, it will once again be a major boost for the economy of Builth Wells and the nearby Powys and Carmarthenshire towns and villages.

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

Nicky Grist Stages raising funds for Tirabad Village Hall, Brecon Rotary Club and Wales Air Ambulance

Spectators visiting the Nicky Grist Stages over the years have helped raise valuable funds for two local charities, the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Club – and the event organiser, Quinton Motor Club, is proud to announce that these fund-raising ventures will continue this year when the event takes place on Saturday 14 July. In addition, the annual collection made at competitors’ signing on, together with a donation from Quinton Motor Club, will also continue, with all proceeds donated to Wales Air Ambulance.

Funds raised by the event have contributed to extensive repairs and renovations to the Tirabad Village Hall – with its members selling event programmes (750 programmes were printed last year, the cost of production generously paid for by Brettex Site Services) and manning car parks. The Hall has also given Nicky Grist Stages officials a warm place to stay and a very early breakfast, as it’s very close to the stages.

Brecon Rotary Club, like all Rotary clubs, brings together dedicated individuals to exchange ideas, build relationships and take action. Rotary is an international organisation with nearly 33,000 clubs worldwide, in 200 countries with 1.2 million members. In Britain and Ireland, there are more than 53,000 men and women who, as members of over 1,830 Rotary clubs, volunteer their time, talents, professional skills and energy to improving the lives of people within their local communities and in those around the world.

Since its launch in 2001, the Wales Air Ambulance has attended a number of incidents involving motorsport competitors across Wales. The charity recently upgraded its fleet of helicopters based in Llanelli, Welshpool and Caernarfon to the latest Airbus Helicopter H145 and now operates an Airbus H135 aircraft from Cardiff Heliport that specialises in adult and paediatric transfers throughout the UK. Thanks to its collaboration with the ‘flying medics’ of the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS), the charity’s helicopters now carry some of the most up to date equipment, drugs and blood products used by any air ambulance service in the UK and are crewed by advanced doctors and Critical Care Practitioners. The next challenge for the charity is to move to a 24/7 operation so that it can continue to deliver advanced medical care during the hours of darkness.

Anthony Jeffreys, Tirabad Village Hall Committee Secretary, said: “Over the past five years the Tirabad Village Hall Committee has been privileged to have been able to raise much needed funds by supporting rally sport on the Epynt hills and surrounding forests. Our income now depends on fundraising, and one of our main event benefactors has been the organisers of the Nicky Grist Stages. It’s been very timely, as the past five years have been particularly tough, as we have had to carry out extensive repairs and renovations to our hall to the tune of £130,000 – a daunting task for such a small isolated community such as Tirabad. However, the improvements made have enabled us to cater for overnight stays, bed, breakfast and evening meals for rally personnel who need that early start, and who appreciate that the Epynt stages are but a few hundred metres from the village hall.

Owen Hughes, President of Brecon Rotary Club, said: “Over the last three years, by selling programmes at the Nicky Grist Stages, Brecon Rotary Club has raised over £5000, which has been added to our fund and distributed to various local good causes.

Mark James, Wales Air Ambulance Trustee, said: “The motorsport community has always been very supportive of Wales Air Ambulance, as they know only too well the difficulty in getting advanced medical support to the most rural parts of Wales when it’s most needed. The expansion and enhancement of our service is only possible thanks to the support of individuals and organisations across Wales. I’m personally delighted that the Nicky Grist Stages has donated to us in this way and I hope that relationship will continue into the future.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Events like the Nicky Grist Stages rely on the goodwill of the local communities we pass through and we are delighted that we have been able to contribute to three very worthy groups over the last few years. Both Tirabad Village Hall and Brecon Rotary Club take a huge amount of pressure off our shoulders on rally day, knowing that they are there to welcome and direct our spectators is a huge comfort and knowing that the money raised goes back to the heart of the community we pass through is both an honour and a privilege. The one thing we hope we never need to use is the Wales Air Ambulance, but knowing it is there is an important part of the Event Safety Plan and so being able to make a small contribution to its running costs is the least we can do.

Mr Tyre (Motorsport) offers free tyre rewards for Nicky Grist Stages 1400, H1/2 and BTRDA Rally First competitors

In celebration of the smaller powered cars running first on the road on the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July), Mr Tyre (Motorsport) Ltd will offer a prize of two free tyres to the winners of the 1400cc and H1/2 classes, plus run a prize draw to win two free tyres for the BTRDA Rally First class, on this year’s event.

Mr Tyre (Motorsport) is a multi-brand supplier of quality motorsport tyres and is a UK distributor and dealer for DMACK, Dunlop, Hankook, Maxxis and Yokohama rally tyres. It has always been a great supporter of clubman rallying, and in particular the smaller 1400cc classes, smaller two-wheel drive car class and the smaller historic classes. As this year’s Nicky Grist Stages will be the first rally in Wales to run under new seeding guidelines, which will see smaller powered cars run at the front of the field through the Crychan, Halfway, Route 60 and new north Epynt forest stages, followed by the more powerful four-wheel drive cars in a split-seeding format, Mr Tyre (Motorsport) is offering this great incentive for competitors on the Quinton MC-organised Nicky Grist Stages.

The winners of the 1400cc class and H1/2 class (H1 – Historic Category 1, 2 and 3 cars up to 1600cc and Category 4 cars up to 1400cc, plus H2 – Historic Category 2 and 3 cars with single cam engines over 1600cc and Category 4 cars up to 1600cc) will automatically receive two free tyres as prizes, while all the BTRDA Rally First competitors who have purchased their event tyres from Mr Tyre (Motorsport) will be put into a prize draw with the winning driver, selected at random, receiving two free tyres.

Daniel Jeffs of Mr Tyre (Motorsport) Ltd, said: “Mr Tyre (Motorsport) has always been very supportive of the smaller capacity class categories in rallying, as this is where the rally stars of tomorrow begin their careers. We are extremely happy to support the new seeding rules, which once again allow these cars to run at the front of the field, and we are delighted to offer these prizes as an extra incentive to help attract competitors back to the BTRDA Rally Series, beginning with the Nicky Grist Stages.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Attracting the smaller capacity powered cars and crews who have drifted away from the sport due to the seeding rules is very important to us as an event. We are therefore delighted that Mr Tyre (Motorsport) has provided these incentives for the lower powered cars, which will benefit from running at the front of the field, and we hope this will entice some of those crews back out onto the stages.

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

Nicky Grist Stages entries open, as BTRDA and Welsh Championship event will be first in Wales to run with relaxed split-field seeding

Entries are now open for the Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July) – with the official event Regulations and Entry forms published on-line at nickygriststages.co.uk.

This year’s Quinton MC-organised event will be the only rally to use Halfway and Route 60 this year – while the famous Crychan stage will be in prime condition, as will a brand new smooth, fast and flowing stage, which will be used for rallying for the very first time.

With service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, this year’s event will offer competitors 45 miles of outstanding forest stages in a compact, all-action and no-nonsense route.

The 2018 Nicky Grist Stages will also be the first event in Wales to run under the new seeding guidelines, which sees a relaxation of the current ruling on seeding in the order of anticipated performance. The new ruling, which comes into force on July 1, will allow lower-powered cars like the BTRDA 1400 class and the Rally First Championship competitors to once again run at the front of the field – giving them improved road conditions and quite literally a level playing field on which to compete on. The classes running at the front of the field will be 1400S, 1400C, RF 1.4, RF 1.6, RF 2.0 and H1/2. This seeding system had, in previous years, attracted a large number of competitors, right across the classes.

This year’s Nicky Grist Stages will count towards a number of major championships, including the 2018 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, incorporating 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 MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the Swift Shining Stars Rally Series.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We are extremely happy with the route and format we have created for this year’s Nicky Grist Stages, which will give competitors forty-five classic Welsh forest stage miles, all of which will be in absolutely prime condition. And as event organisers we have done everything possible to keep the entry fee down as low as possible and to give competitors real value for money. We are the only event to use Halfway and Route 60 this year, Crychan is an old favourite and in the best condition we have ever seen, and we are introducing a new smooth, fast and flowing stage, which has never been used for rallying before. We are equally proud to be the first rally in Wales to run to the new relaxed seeded and split-field system, which means the lower-powered cars will start first. There will then be a short gap before the powerful four-wheel drive cars will be flagged away in seeded order, ensuring that every competitor gets an opportunity to compete on equal terms and on like-for-like conditions. We’re very excited by this year’s route and look forward to the event on Saturday 14 July.

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

Never used before gravel stage joins Crychan, Halfway and Route 60 in exciting new Nicky Grist Stages route

This summer’s Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 14 July) will be the only event in 2018 to run on the classic Welsh gravel roads in Halfway and Route 60 – while the Crychan stage is in prime condition and a brand new smooth, fast and flowing stage, which has never been used for rallying before, replaces the rested Monument test.

This year’s Quinton MC-organised event returns to its traditional one-day all-gravel format. The stages will be in excellent condition, as the Army has re-graded parts of the route after recent logging and other sections of the route will not have been used since Rally4Wales re-graded the roads following last year’s rallying.

The much loved and challenging Crychan, Halfway and Route 60 stages will be joined by a brand new five and a half mile stage to the north of the Epynt military range. In total, there will be 45 stage miles.

The event will be based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, and with 180 cars allowed to start the Nicky Grist Stages will once again been a major boost for the economy of Builth Wells and the nearby Powys and Carmarthenshire towns and villages.

This year will celebrate the 38th running of Quinton Motor Club’s forest stage rally and the eighth year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports. It’s also the 31st consecutive year of it hosting a round of the BTRDA Rally Series and therefore the event will play host to the 2018 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, incorporating 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. The 2018 Nicky Grist Stages is also proud to host a round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, FMP Rally Challenge and the all-new Swift Shining Stars Rally Series.

After a second stint of 10 years, making 24 years in total, Susan Butcher has stepped down from her role as Secretary of the Meeting. Helena Mayall, who for the past two years has been the Entries Secretary, is the new Secretary of the Meeting.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “After two successful years running as a mixed-surface two-day event, we are reverting back to our traditional one-day gravel rally in 2018. We are planning a great event, and using the knowledge gained over the last few years to enhance the reputation of the Nicky Grist Stages. All the stages are in prime condition and are smooth, challenging, fast and flowing. We are the only rally to run in Halfway and Route 60 this year, and we have introduced a brand new five and a half mile stage to the north of the ranges that has never been used for rallying before. That stage replaces the Monument stage, which we are resting for 2018. The route has now been finalised, and we are extremely happy with it – it will be a truly great challenge for competitors come July 14. And on a personal note, Susan’s contribution to the event is unquantifiable and I’d like to thank her for all her efforts over the years.

Nicky Grist said: “A new year, but not exactly a new rally, but we do have a brand new stage that no-one will have used before! Add this to the other three near perfect condition stages in Crychan, Halfway and Route 60, which are some of the best stages in Welsh rallying, and the crews will have a great time. I am delighted to be involved with the event again this year, although I am sad to see Susan leave us. After all the years she has been our Secretary of the Meeting we cannot complain, she has been a tremendous asset to the rally and I would like to thank her for all her hard work and effort over the years. I look forward to seeing you all on the Nicky Grist Stages in July.

Winners from home and abroad celebrate Nicky Grist Stages success in Builth Wells

This year’s Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) proved to be a huge success, with spectators enjoying great weather and spectacular high-speed action, competitors rising magnificently to the challenge of a two-day mixed surface event, the event organisers Quinton MC running an incident-free rally and Builth Wells hosting fantastic town centre start and finish ceremonies.

With three rallies in one and competitors battling for points in 10 different championships, the mid-Wales event attracted 147 starters – all of which were flagged away from outside the magnificent Strand Hall in the heart of Builth Wells on Saturday morning.

Swapping his Wales and Scarlets Rugby shirts for Stilo helmet and P1 Advanced Racewear suit was Scott Williams – who unveiled his new and immaculate Scott Williams Motorsport built Escort, which he drove as course opening car on the Sunday’s asphalt stages. It was a stunning sight and sound enjoyed by all – including fellow Welsh Rugby Union star George North and double Olympic medal winning cyclist Becky James, who were on Epynt to support their good friend.

The importance of the Nicky Grist Stages internationally was highlighted when Sweden’s Fredrik Åhlin and his Norwegian co-driver Torstein Eriksen claimed overall victory in their Škoda Fabia R5. Welsh favourite Osian Pryce had made the most of running first on the road to lead after day one by 19.3 seconds, but a fuel pump problem with his Ford Fiesta R5 side-lined him and co-driver Dale Furniss early on day two. Åhlin took the lead and held onto it superbly, winning the event by 47.5 seconds and retaking the lead in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship.

Llandudno’s Matt Edwards finished an excellent second on his Ford Fiesta R5. Co-driven by Darren Garrod, the result moves him into third in the BRC standings, behind Åhlin and Pryce, with two rallies remaining. Rhys Yates/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta R5) took third place – with the Nicky Grist Stages finish ceremony held in the beautiful Groe Park, on the banks of the River Wye.

Callum Devine/Keith Moriarty (Opel Adam R2) won an exciting Junior BRC battle, after the lead changed hands six times. Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson (Peugeot 208 R2) led initially, before a puncture saw them tumble down the order. Norway’s Oscar Solberg/Patrik Barth (Ford Fiesta R2T) seized the advantage before turbo problems intervened. Cameron Davies/Michael Gilbey (Peugeot 208 R2) led overnight, but retired on day two with engine problems. Irish driver Devine was unstoppable once the event moved onto Tarmac, eventually winning Junior BRC by 18.6 seconds. William Creighton and Liam Regan (Peugeot 208 R2) came home second, with west Wales pair James Williams/Dai Roberts (Fiesta R2T) claiming third.

In the battle for Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series points, which was played out over Saturday’s eight gravel stages, it was Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson who took the Nicky Grist Stages victory after a well-judged run in their Ford Fiesta WRC. Peter Taylor/Andrew Roughead set six fastest stage times, but lost time when their Ford Fiesta WRC’s rear spoiler came off and then they suffered a puncture. They couldn’t quite make up all the time lost and finished second, just 8.1 seconds behind. Callum Black/Elliott Edmondson also lost time when they overshot a hairpin early on, yet still finished a strong third in their less powerful Ford Fiesta R5+.

Sasha Kakad/James Aldridge won the BTRDA Production Cup category in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 and finished an impressive fifth overall. A misfiring Fiesta R5 led to the retirement of Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg, while another top BTRDA crew to retire was Dylan Davies/Llion Williams with power steering problems in their Subaru Impreza.

Black/Edmondson also scored maximum points in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, with husband and wife pairing Martyn and Dawn England (Fiesta R5) finishing second and Peter Stephenson/Will Rogers (Fiesta WRC) third. Wug Utting/Bob Stokoe have taken the lead in the Welsh series, after a fantastic Group N victory in their Subaru Impreza.

Damian Cole/Den Golding won the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally, which was played out over the 12 Tarmac stages on Sunday. They showed their class by winning the stand-alone event by a comfortable 1min 48.5secs in their Ford Escort WRC. Black/Edmondson completed a magnificent weekend by scoring maximum points MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship on their first Tarmac event in the R5 car.

Nicky Grist said: “Quinton MC has really upped the standard on this year’s event and as an organising team they are getting better and better – and that’s been reflected in the success of the 2017 rally. We were blessed with beautiful weather, which keeps the marshals, spectators and everyone happy, but it also throws up other challenges for the competitors, especially on the dusty gravel stages on day one. The dry Tarmac roads of Epynt on day two certainly offered a great challenge, and we’ve had a fantastic event. I’m delighted. We’ve learnt a little bit more, so there are more improvements to be made, but as an event we are moving, most definitely, in the right direction.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We were very pleased by the big entry we received and the quality of the field – the three events certainly made for great competition and produced very worthy overall and class winners in all ten of the championships that we hosted. We’re always looking to make improvements, and everyone at Quinton MC is delighted with the way this very complex two-day mixed surface event is developing. We’d like extend our enormous thanks to all the marshals and officials who worked tirelessly to ensure the safe running of the event, and also to all the competitors, teams and spectators who were a credit to our sport last weekend.

All those who attended this year’s Nicky Grist Stages – officials, spectators, marshals, competitors, support teams, everyone! – are kindly reminded to fill out the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs economic benefits survey, which can be done on-line at: http://rallydata.co.uk/484245

Nicky Grist Stages – Top 10 Overall

  1. Fredrik Åhlin/Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia R5): 1hr 45mins 50.2secs
  2. Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (Ford Fiesta R5): +47.5secs
  3. Rhys Yates/Carl Williamson (Ford Fiesta R5): +2mins 08.0secs
  4. Martin McCormack/David Moynihan (Ford Fiesta R5): +2mins 11.7secs
  5. Jamie Anderson/Ross Whittock (Ford Fiesta R5): +3mins 16.7secs
  6. Barry McKenna/Leon Jordan (Ford Fiesta R2): +5mins 04.9secs
  7. Callum Devine/Keith Moriarty (Opel Adam R2): +8mins 48.0secs
  8. William Creighton/Liam Regan (Peugeot 208 R2): +9mins 06.6secs
  9. James Williams/Dai Roberts (Ford Fiesta R2): +9mins 13.8secs
  10. Marty Gallagher/Dean O’Sullivan (Peugeot 208 R2): +9mins 45.7secs

Welsh rugby star Scott Williams to debut new home-built Escort on this weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages

Fresh from touring the South Pacific Islands, Welsh rugby international Scott Williams will debut a brand new Escort Mk2 on day two of the Nicky Grist Stages – when he drives the course opening zero car on the combined Prestone MSA British Rally Championship qualifying round and the stand-alone Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (Sunday 9 July).

The new car has been built by his own Lampeter-based Scott Williams Motorsport team and will be seen for the very first time on the event. Established in April 2016, SWM has already enjoying great success – with another one of Scott’s Mk2 Escorts currently leading the highly competitive Irish Historic Tarmac Championship.

For the Guinness Pro12 winning Scarlets Rugby centre, the Quinton Motor Club organised Nicky Grist Stages will be his first visit to the famous asphalt roads of the Epynt military range. Not only will Scott’s appearance be a huge draw to the many Welsh sports fans who will travel to Epynt to watch the rally, he’ll also play a vital role in the safe running of the event.

Scott Williams said: “I’ve never driven as part of the Safety Car Team on Epynt before, so I’m really looking forward to it. Epynt is well known in rallying as a very tough and challenging venue – very fast and narrow, with blind crests and no margin for error. I’ll be driving the Zero Car on the Sunday, so whilst we’re not competing, we travel at around eighty per cent competitive speed, so we won’t be going slowly either! My business, Scott Williams Motorsport, is building a brand new car, and the Nicky Grist Stages will be its first reveal. We want as many people to see the new car as possible, so running in front of the competitors on a round of the British Rally Championship is a fantastic opportunity to do just that. It’s going to be a lot of fun but we have a serious job to do ensuring the safety of both the competitors and spectators. I haven’t managed to talk Nicky [Grist] into co-driving for me yet – he said that he wants to see me drive first!

Nicky Grist said: “We are delighted to have a sporting celebrity from the rugby world on our event, and with Scott Williams so engaged and fanatical about rallying we are delighted that he can come and do a safety car job for us. All eyes will be on him, and I’m sure that his nerves will jangle a fair bit more on this event than they do on a Six Nations match for Wales!

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Having reliable Safety Cars running ahead of the field is a vital part of the event planning and having Scott out on the asphalt stages is an important part of that planning. Scott will be in close contact with me in Rally HQ and the MSA Safety Delegate out on the stages advising us on certain aspects of the stage set up.

Scott will also be watching the opening day of the Nicky Grist Stages from the VIP Hospitality marquee, when crews contest the gravel section of the event, which is a round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, 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. You can join him in the VIP area too, with exclusive car parking, stage-side viewing area, breakfast, lunch, unlimited refreshments and guest speakers. More information on the great VIP rally day out is available from Sarah Williams on 01559 371534.

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

158 cars, 10 championships and 3 rallies in 1 head to Builth Wells for the Nicky Grist Stages this weekend!

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

Builth Wells town centre to host Nicky Grist Stages start and finish parties – and everyone’s invited!

Builth Wells will, for the first time, host both the start and finish ceremonies of the Quinton Motor Club organised Nicky Grist Stages, with a big motorsport celebration on the morning of Saturday 8 July and the afternoon of Sunday 9 July – to which everyone is invited. And what’s more, both events are completely free for spectators!

Strand Street will be the place to be for the new rally start on the Saturday– where the top seeded cars will be on display from 08.00 and where fans will be able to meet their rally heroes. All the competitors from 10 different championships – including the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship and MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship – will then be flagged away at one minute intervals from outside Strand Hall by local dignitaries and rally celebrities from 08.30 onwards.

Spectator areas, giving the best and safest vantage points to view the high-speed action, will be set up and well signposted as crews tackle first the gravel sections on Saturday and then the Tarmac stages over Epynt on the Sunday – with all proceeds raised from car parking charges and programme sales going to local charities. Spectators will also be able to see the rally cars close up when they come into the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd for service – and Saturday evening is the best time to come, as teams have two hours to transform their gravel spec cars into Tarmac trim. Full spectator information is available at nickygriststages.co.uk.

After all 20 special stages have been completed the most successful crews will attend the champagne-spraying finish ceremony on Sunday afternoon. Following the success of 2016, this will once again take place in Groe Park, on the banks of the River Wye, with the landmark 18th Century bridge in the background. The party atmosphere will be enhanced with local DJ Mark Weller on the decks, together with VIP guests and well-known faces. The finish ceremony will take place from approximately 16.00 onwards.

Keep an eye out on social media for a fantastic SPOT THE RALLY CAR competition – with some great rally prizes!

Councillor Meryl Prynne, Mayor Builth Wells Town Council, said: “We give a warm welcome to all who are connected with the Nicky Grist Stages as once again we see the rally being brought into Builth Wells but this time we are actually having the start of the rally in the middle of town. Staging the start of the rally in Strand Street and then ending the rally on the Groe will increase the profile of Builth Wells locally and nationally. The increased number of visitors it will bring into the town will give a much needed boost to the economy and we hope that this event might become an annual feature in our town.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We are particularly pleased to be bringing the start of this year’s Nicky Grist Stages into the heart of Builth Wells, giving residents and visitors the opportunity to get close to the cars and drivers before they head off to the stages.

Ian Butcher, Nicky Grist Stages Rally Manager, said: “We would especially like to thank Jeremy Patterson and all at Powys CC for their support in this venture. It is down to Mr Patterson’s personal intervention that we have been able to proceed with closing Strand Street. We hope he can join us at the Ceremonial Start to flag the cars away.

Spectators can also enjoy Nicky Grist Stages VIP Hospitality packages, as these are not reserved for only corporate guests and sponsors! It will be a sell-out experience this year and only a few places are still available for Saturday and/or 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 from Spencer Sport on 01559 371534.

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