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

10 rally championships come to Builth Wells this summer for the economy-boosting Nicky Grist Stages

This summer’s Nicky Grist Stages (8-9 July) will play host to no less than 10 different rally championships – highlighting not only what a major sporting attraction the event now is, but also a major boost for the economy of Builth Wells, Llanelwedd and the nearby Powys and Carmarthenshire towns and villages.

Organised by Quinton Motor Club, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages is, for the second year running, the only event to host a round of both the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship and Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series – meaning that Britain’s best rally drivers will be coming to the region. It is also a round of eight other championships too, including the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, MAXXIS MSA English Championship, BTRDA Rally First, Fiesta ST Trophy and FMP Rally Challenge – attracting the best regional and young up-and-coming drivers to mid-Wales.

The event will be based at the Royal Welsh Showground, with around 45 loose-surface stage miles planned for Saturday (8 July) in the forests of Crychan, Halfway, Route 60 and Monument. Only around a quarter of the forest stage miles will be held on Natural Resources Wales land, helping to keep the cost of running and participating on the event down. Sunday (9 July) will see a further 75 asphalt stage miles over the famous fast, undulating and spectacular Epynt military ranges.

To accommodate all 10 rally championships over the two day rally festival, there will be effectively three rallies in one. The split is as follows:


Nicky Grist Stages BRC (two day Saturday and Sunday event)

  • Prestone MSA British Rally Championship
  • FMP Rally Challenge


Nicky Grist Stages (one day Saturday event)

  • 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
  • ANWCC Forest Rally Championship


Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally (one day Sunday event)

  • MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship
  • FMP Rally Challenge


The Sunday rally will be sponsored by Llandysul-based rally team Spencer Sport, and will be known as the Spencer Sport Acropolis Rally – which pays homage to one of the very earliest events ever organised by Quinton MC. Soon after the club was formed in 1959, Quinton MC ran (amongst others) the Acropolis Rally from the mid-1960s onwards. It became a hugely popular Welsh Championship night road rally, however it has not taken place in this format since 1986. The club last used the name for a single venue stage event at Wheaton Aston for three years in the late 1980s. So, after an absence of over 25 years, the Acropolis Rally name returns to Quinton MC’s events calendar for 2017.

For the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship crews, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages will be a challenging two-day mixed surface event. For the MAXXIS MSA English Championship competitors, the event will be a double-header, with points awarded after day one and day two.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Having so many of the top championships wanting the Nicky Grist Stages to be included in their calendar is a great honour for the event and a testament of the challenge the event will pose. We learnt a great deal from last year’s event and we are planning a truly fantastic experience for all our competitors, regardless of championship. On a personal note it is pleasing that we can bring back an iconic name in Quinton MC’s rallying history. As an organiser I started with both the D’Isis and Acropolis Rallies, and to bring back the Acropolis Rally name evokes many wonderful memories.

Nicky Grist said: “When I started sponsoring the Nicky Grist Stages, I did not imagine that we would become a qualifying event for ten different championships. This is testimony to the hard work of all the main officials and Quinton Motor Club, who work really hard to make it, what it is fair to say, the biggest rally in the UK behind Wales Rally GB. The Sunday format has change to accommodate the Acropolis Rally, and twelve stages in a day will offer a real challenge.