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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

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