Over 120 BTRDA and Welsh Rally crews head to Builth Wells for this Saturday’s Nicky Grist Stages

Over 120 crews will contest this Saturday’s Nicky Grist Stages (14 July), with the very best competitors from the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, MRF Fiesta ST Trophy, FMP Rally Challenge and the Swift Shining Stars Rally Series battling it out over 45 classic Welsh forestry stage miles on the Carmarthenshire and Powys border.

The Quinton MC-organised event will be the first in Wales to run to the new split-seeding rules, whereby lower-powered cars will run first on the road and in reserve order (and be eligible for special Mr Tyre (Motorsport) prizes) – followed, after a short gap, by the more powerful four-wheel drive cars. With all four separate stages – Llyn Login, Route 60, Halfway and Crychan – (which are ran twice) in excellent condition, it should be a fantastic event for all.

Tom Cave/James Morgan are seeded at number one in their Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage R5, but it’s Paul Bird/Jack Morton who arrive at the event leading the BTRDA Rally Series, with the Focus WRC driver aiming to score his third win of the 2018 season – and a hat-trick of victories on the Nicky Grist Stages, having won in the same car in 2014 and ‘15. He’ll have a tough fight on his hands against the likes of Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod, who have also won two BTRDA rounds in their Fiesta R5, and Russ Thompson/Andy Murphy who have an excellent finishing record in their Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Last year’s Nicky Grist Stages winners Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson also reappear in their Fiesta WRC, while 2016 event winners Luke Francis/John H Roberts hope their luck will improve this time out in their Fiesta WRC. 2016 Gold Star Champions Charlie Payne/Carl Williamson have repaired their Fiesta following a crash in Kielder, while Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge continue their inaugural season in a similar B14 car. Martyn and Dawn England (Fiesta R5+) were fourth on last year’s Nicky Grist Stages and the rapid husband and wife team return in an attempt to improve on that excellent result. Dylan Davies/Llion Williams will be aiming to extend their lead in the Welsh Rally Championship in their Subaru Impreza.

Ernie Graham/Robin Kellard (Escort) and Tom Coughtrie/Ian Fraser (Mitsubishi Galant VR4) resume their battle in the BTRDA Historic Cup, as will Matthew Baddeley/Yan Griffiths, Guy Butler/TBC (both Toyota Corollas) and Sam and Liam Johnson (SEAT Arosa) in the Rally First category. Zak Hughes/Tom Wood are the top seeded Fiesta ST Trophy competitors, followed by Kalvin Green/Osian Owen and series leaders James Giddings/Sion Cunniff, while George Lepley/Tom Woodburn arrive at the event leading the BTRDA Juniors in their Fiesta R2.

2018 marks the 38th running of Quinton Motor Club’s forest stage rally and the eighth year of title sponsorship from Nicky Grist Motorsports. The event will start from outside Strand Hall (the newly-renovated Edwardian building having been officially opened by HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall just 10 days before) in the centre of Builth Wells at 09.01, when the lower-powered cars will be first away in reserve order, followed by the more powerful four-wheel drive cars.

Crews will head to the brand new 5.02 mile Llyn Login stage, which will be used for rallying for the very first time. Route 60 (5.10 miles), Halfway (5.11 miles) and Crychan (7.25 miles) follow, before mid-day service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd. Then, in the afternoon, the 22.48 mile loop of four stages will be repeated – before the most successful crews will attend the champagne-spraying finish ceremony 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.

Spectators are welcome in designated areas with car parks manned by local charities and all monies raised going directly to the Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Club. Full spectator information is available at nickygriststages.co.uk.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “We are delighted with the depth and quality of the entry for this year’s Nicky Grist Stages. The top twenty is amazing and predicting a winner will be very difficult indeed. The changes in running order have had a very positive impact on the event. To have thirty cars in the first field is incredible, and a positive step to bring back some of the lost competitors.

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

2018 Nicky Grist Stages – Top 10 Seeds

  1. Tom Cave/James Morgan – Mitsubishi Mirage R5
  2. Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson – Ford Fiesta WRC
  3. Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod – Ford Fiesta R5
  4. Paul Bird/Jack Morton – Ford Focus WRC
  5. Luke Francis/John H Roberts – Ford Fiesta WRC
  6. Charles Payne/Carl Williamson – Ford Fiesta
  7. Sacha Kakad/James Aldridge – Ford Fiesta
  8. Rory Young/Allan Cathers – Ford Fiesta R5
  9. Martyn England/Dawn England – Ford Fiesta R5+
  10. Martin Cairns/Gary McElhinney – Ford Fiesta WRC

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