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Former Welsh R2 champion Matthew Jackson to drive Bowler Defender zero car on the Nicky Grist Stages


Matthew Jackson, the 2022 Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship R2 champion, will drive a Bowler Defender as course opening zero car on this year’s Nicky Grist Stages (Saturday 13 July).

The 32-year old driver from Stratford-upon-Avon works for Jaguar Land Rover as a product engineer in its interior trim department, and his rallying experience has been called upon in recent years to give Bowler Defender Challenge driver tuition and special off-road driving experience days.

Matthew has contested the Nicky Grist Stages six times and as he’s still in the process of building a new rally car for himself, he will undertake this important safety role for the Quinton Motor Club organising team.

This year’s Nicky Grist Stages will be something of a family affair for Matthew, as his father Tony will be driving the Motorsport UK Safety Delegate Kevin Dawson around the route in another Bowler Defender (Bowler Motorsport supplying the vehicles as part of its commitment to supporting the safety of events) and his brother Jonathan will be co-driving for Meirion Evans in a Castrol MEM Rally Team Toyota GR Yaris Rally2.

Matthew will be accompanied in the zero car by Paul Morris. Paul won the BTRDA Silver Star section on the 2023 Nicky Grist Stages with Robert Gough (Escort Mk2), won the BTRDA Bronze Star award with Steve Black (Suzuki Swift) in 2021 and finished second overall on the event in 2008 co-driving for Damian Cole (Hyundai Accent WRC3). He is also the co-ordinator of the Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship, a title he won as a co-driver in 2016 with Damian Cole (Fiesta RS WRC).

This year’s Builth Wells-based Nicky Grist Stages is a round of six major championships, including the Defender Rally Series UK Championship. Nine Bowler 90s will contest the event, including series leader Mark Thomas and Boyzone singer Shane Lynch.

The event is also proud to be part of Motorsport UK’s National Motorsport Week ( and is in partnership with Carbon Positive Motorsport – which provides carbon offsetting for all competitors and organisers event vehicles, as part of a long-term roadmap and commitment to mitigate the events carbon footprint – and GoSafe, the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership.

“I haven’t contested a rally since winning the Welsh R2 title in 2022 as the new Micra Kit Car I’m currently building is taking a bit longer than I’d planned, so I’m looking forward to getting out on the classic mid-Wales forests on the Nicky Grist Stages driving the zero car,” says Matthew.

“It’s quite a responsibility driving the zero car. There is a lot going on, as I’ll have the organisers’ radio plugged into the intercom as well as listening to the route instructions, but it’s nice to do something for the event and to give something back to rallying.

“Since I sold my Fiesta R2T I’ve done more rally miles in a Bowler Defender than any other rally car. I’ve done a fair bit of driver tuition and given media and guests rides and it’s a fun vehicle to drive. I’m also looking forward to teaming up with Paul Morris. I’ve known him a very long time and this will be the first time that we’ve sat in a rally car together.

“With my father Tony driving the Safety Delegate around and my brother Jonathan competing it’s going to be a fun Jackson family day out, and we’re all very much looking forward to this year’s Nicky Grist Stages.”

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