Carnival atmosphere comes to Builth Wells, as Nicky Grist Stages hailed enormous success by town, competitors and fans

The 2022 Nicky Grist Stages brought a carnival atmosphere to Builth Wells at the weekend as 160 crews from six major British rally championships entertained the large number of visitors who created a magnificent buzz in the Service Area in Groe Park, at the Start and Finish ceremonies and in the nearby mid-Wales forest stages.


In glorious sunshine, spectators enjoyed some fantastic viewing in Halfway and Crychan, while special thanks go to the volunteer marshals and officials who kept everyone safe and the event running on time.


Following scrutineering at North Road Garage, the Mayor of Builth Wells, Cllr Alan Waller, flagged the cars away from outside Strand Hall on Strand Street at the start of the eight-stage event.


After all 44.38 stage miles, held on the classic Natural Resources Wales and Defence Infrastructure Organisation Wales forest gravel roads on and around the Epynt military range, were completed, the Mayor and Nicky Grist were back to present the trophies to the winners, with the British Rally Championship, MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series and Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship podium ceremonies taking place on the banks of the River Wye.


In a fantastic display of speed and skill, Osian Pryce/Noel O’Sullivan won the Quinton Stages – National section of the event for the first time in their Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, while there were new winners of the Nicky Grist Stages – Interclub section of the event too, with Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear claiming victory in their Ford Fiesta R5+.


Following the success of the event – not just in sporting terms, but as an economic boost to Builth Wells (the rally organisers alone booked 55 bed and breakfast rooms in the town) – the Nicky Grist Stages can announce that the 2023 event will take place on Saturday 8 July.


Next year’s event will be the 14th consecutive year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports, and Colin McRae’s former co-driver (who was joined at this year’s event by Jimmy, Margaret, Alister and Max McRae) was full of praise for the 2022 edition.



“It’s been a wonderful event,” said Nicky.


“The organisation has been excellent. The stages ran on time, the competition was fantastic, we had no dramas whatsoever and even the weather was perfect.


“Bringing the event into the centre of Builth Wells created a lot of buzz around the town and there was a fantastic atmosphere in the service park. It was great to see so many visitors walking around looking at the rally cars and talking to the teams. Many of them were locals, but a lot were people just passing through Builth who decided to stop and look at what was going on.


“I managed to get out to watch on the stages. The action was incredible and everyone had a great time.


“Rallying needs to embrace the smaller communities and one of our key aims was to bring trade into Builth Wells. We certainly did that, and we created quite a carnival atmosphere too. I’m delighted by the way everything went.”


This year’s Nicky Grist Stages teamed up with Carbon Positive Motorsport to provide carbon offsetting as part of a long-term roadmap and commitment to mitigate the event’s carbon footprint. Ninety rally crews registered to carbon offset their event-related travel, plus a considerable number of marshals, officials and spectators, which was a tremendous uptake in year one of the partnership.


The event also worked very closely with GoSafe – the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership and its Operation SNAP programme, and no rally-related road traffic offences have been reported.


“On behalf of Quinton Motor Club, we’d like to thank Nicky [Grist] for all his enthusiasm and support and the competitors, marshals, spectators and residents of Builth Wells for helping make this year’s event such a success,” said Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course.


“Our inaugural year working with Carbon Positive Motorsport was also a huge success and we look forwarding to working with them in the future.”


NGStages23 – Saturday 8 July.

90 crews join the Carbon Positive Motorsport initiative

The 2022 Nicky Grist Stages has partnered with Carbon Positive Motorsport as part of a new initiative to help mitigate the events carbon footprint in the first step of a comprehensive environmental roadmap for the popular event.


The event is the first to pilot a ‘End to End’ carbon offsetting event package that has been launched by Carbon Positive Motorsport. This innovative package has been created based on feedback from rally events and competitors, who wanted to make it easier for all involved in an event to help contribute to mitigating an events carbon footprint and its environmental impact through carbon offsetting the estimated average event day fuel used by competitors.


Thanks to over 90 competitors who have included carbon offsetting in their entry, 28,000 KG C02e of carbon will be offset in the future. This figure also includes the organisers vehicles which will be offsetting their actual fuel use on the event day. This carbon offsetting will be recorded on the UK land registry in the name of the event, which provides full transparency and verification of the offsetting level to be achieved.


The event itself will see Carbon Positive Motorsport brand ambassadors Osian Pryce, Garry Pearson and Matthew Jackson who is competing with Sasha Heriot and said: “We’re really looking forward to the Nicky Grist Stages. It’s been a bit of a gap since the last class win at the Plains Rally so we’re raring to go. It’s set to be a tough weekend, the stages look absolutely fantastic, very fast and flowing and as always with the Nicky Grist Stages, a warm one! We face a very strong battle for the class this time, a number of the newer generation cars, but we love a challenge!”


I think it’s great so many people have signed up to offset their carbon for this event. We all need to do our bit to make our sport greener, so the fact people are listening, signing up only goes to show the great work the team are doing. Even better that the event is endorsing and really pushing the message, it makes the whole process very simple and effective’


The Carbon Positive Motorsport initiative has since its launch generated large interest in the sport – as competitors and events across all motorsport disciplines, have started to recognise and act on the environmental needs of the sport, to ensure that motorsport and the environment are sustainable for future generations to enjoy.


By only using the highest possible quality of 100% UK based carbon offsetting projects which generate carbon reduction in the future through rewilding, greater environmental benefits such as restoration of ancient woodlands, and the reintroduction of native species of trees and animals to improve biodiversity, will result in greater positive environmental impact than by offsetting alone.


To further reduce the events environmental impact, Carbon Positive Motorsport are also offering all Nicky Grist Stages competitors and spectators a 20% discount on their standard web shop prices from the 8th to the 10th of July, to encourage all travelling to the event to help bring a greater positive environmental impact.


Carbon Positive Motorsport director, Paul Glass said: “We are delighted that so many of the event competitors decided to support the events environmental ambitions, by not opting out of the scheme. Such levels of competitors support and commitment from the organisers will help the event to be sustainable in the future years. I was talking with Nicky at last weekend’s McRae rally challenge which we provided carbon offsetting to, and as event sponsor he was delighted that such a level of support has been given to the event that carries his name.”


Carbon Positive Motorsport director, Steve Smith added :”It’s a fantastic level of support, which greatly increases the positive impact we can create through our new End to End offsetting package for the event. I will be attending the event to support the organisers, but also to take feedback from all competitors, to understand how we can further improve how we work with this model and events in the future. We want all to get involved from a voluntary basis for the benefit of the sport – so such feedback is very important to us in achieving that ambition.”


A special discount code (NG22S) has been created to use on Carbon Positive Motorsports online sales platform, which will be available for all competitors and spectators to use to carbon offset their event related travel.

BRC leader Keith Cronin heads a bumper 160 car entry as the Nicky Grist Stages welcomes six major rally championships to Builth Wells

A bumper 160 car entry will start this weekend’s Quinton Motor Club-organised Nicky Grist Stages – with competitors from six major rally championships gathering in the historic Welsh market town of Builth Wells on Saturday (9 July) for a fantastic action-packed rally festival.


Four-time British rally champion Keith Cronin is seeded at number one in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. He and co-driver Mikie Galvin arrive in Builth Wells leading the British Rally Championship, 10 points ahead of Welsh crew James Williams/Dai Roberts in their Hyundai i20 R5.


Osian Pryce (co-driven Noel O’Sullivan) will carry number 100 on his Polo GTI R5 to celebrate his 100th rally start.


Perry Gardener/Jack Bowen arrive as leaders of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series. They have finished on the podium in all four rounds so far this year, and with three second place finishes and a third they will be aiming for their first maximum points score of the season.


Matthew Hirst has won all three rounds of the Pirelli Ravenol Welsh Rally Championship this year. The Nicky Grist Stages is one of his favourite events, although in four previous attempts he’s never enjoyed a clean run. He and co-driver Declan Dear will be aiming to readdress that this year in their Delta Salvage Ford Fiesta R5+.


The event also welcomes crews contesting the HRCR Rally Master Challenge (the largest historic rally car registration of its kind), the ANWCC Rally Championship (which has over 120 member clubs) and the Independent Paint Supplies (IPS) Rally Challenge (which raises funds for the Wales Air Ambulance).


The event will run to its popular tried and tested one-day format featuring 44.38 stage miles on Natural Resources Wales and Defence Infrastructure Organisation Wales land. With a few innovative tweaks, this year’s route will contain some new sections of top-quality roads, some of which have never been used on the Nicky Grist Stages before.


This year’s event celebrates 13 consecutive years of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports – and the long-standing support, advice, co-operation and friendship from Nicky Grist is enormously appreciated.


“Thank you to all the competitors entered for the Nicky Grist Stages this year,” said Nicky.


“We have an incredible entry of 160 cars which is a remarkable amount and I hope you all have a great event.


“The stages are in fantastic condition and on the last route recce they were smooth and in perfect condition for rallying.


“I look forward to seeing you all in Builth Wells this weekend.”


The event will be broadcast on several media channels, with action and driver interviews live-streamed by the BRC, BTRDA and Welsh championships.


The 2022 Nicky Grist Stages has team-up with Carbon Positive Motorsport to provide carbon offsetting as part of a long-term roadmap and commitment to mitigate the event’s carbon footprint. A special discount code (NG22S) has been created to use on the Carbon Positive Motorsport online sales platform, which is available for all competitors and spectators to use to carbon offset their event-related travel.


The event is proud to continue its association with GoSafe – the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership and its Operation SNAP programme, and help raise awareness of the Fatal Five road safety initiative by the Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.


Scrutineering will take place the day before the event (Friday 8 July) at North Road Garage; the local Toyota dealership (owned by Eian Pritchard and his family) is located just a stone’s throw away from the service area on the other side of the River Wye.


Thanks to the magnificent support from Powys County Council and Builth Wells Town Council, this Saturday’s Nicky Grist Stages will start from Strand Street (outside Strand Hall, which is rally headquarters) in the centre of Builth Wells, with the first car flagged away at 08.31. Crews will then tackle a loop of four gravel stages – Llyn Login, Monument, Halfway and Crychan – before returning to Strand Street for a regroup, followed by a midday service halt on the Builth Wells RFC pitch. Crews with then head back for a repeat run over the four stages, before returning to Builth Wells for the podium finish ceremony, which will take place in Groe Park from 15.30 on the banks of the River Wye, with the landmark 18th Century bridge and surrounding rolling hills providing a stunning backdrop.


2022 Nicky Grist Stages top 10 seeded entries
1. Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin….Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
2. Elliot Payne/Patrick Walsh….Ford Fiesta Rally2
3. James Williams/Dai Roberts….Hyundai i20 R5
4. Garry Pearson/Dale Furniss….Ford Fiesta Rally2
5. Ruairi Bell/Max Freeman…. Škoda Fabia R5
6. Tom Llewellin/Ross Whittock….TBA
7. Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear….Ford Fiesta R5
8. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson….Ford Fiesta
9. Perry Gardener/Jack Bowen….Ford Fiesta R5
10. Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke….Volkswagen Polo GTI R5