For the first time, Builth Wells will this weekend host both the start and finish ceremonies of the Quinton Motor Club organised Nicky Grist Stages, writes Paul Evans.
The big motorsport celebration begins saturday morning and concludes the afternoon of Sunday and everyone is invited free of charge.
Strand Street will be the place to be for the new rally start on Saturday where the top seeded cars will be on display from 08.00 and ans will be able to meet their rally heroes.
All the competitors from 10 different championships including the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship and MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship will then be flagged away at one minute intervals from outside Strand Hall by local dignitaries and rally celebrities from 08.30 onwards.
|Spectator areas, giving the best and safest vantage points to view the high-speed action, will be set up and well signposted as crews tackle first the gravel sections on Saturday and then the Tarmac stages over Epynt on the Sunday with all proceeds raised from car parking charges and programme sales going to local charities.|
Spectators will also be able to see the rally cars close up when they come into the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd for service and Saturday evening is the best time to come, as teams have two hours to transform their gravel spec cars into Tarmac trim.
Full spectator information is available at nickygriststages.co.uk.
After all 20 special stages have been completed the most successful crews will attend the champagne-spraying finish ceremony on Sunday afternoon in Groe Park, on the banks of the River Wye.
|Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said, “We are particularly pleased to be bringing the start of this year’s Nicky Grist Stages into the heart of Builth Wells, giving residents and visitors the opportunity to get close to the cars and drivers before they head off to the stages.|
Ian Butcher, Nicky Grist Stages Rally Manager, added, “We would especially like to thank Jeremy Patterson and all at Powys CC for their support in this venture.
“It is down to Mr Patterson’s personal intervention that we have been able to proceed with closing Strand Street. We hope he can join us at the Ceremonial Start to flag the cars away.”
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.
Staging the start of the rally in Strand Street and then ending the rally in the Groe Park beside River Wye will increase the profile of Builth Wells locally and nationally. The increased number of visitors it will bring into the town will give a much needed boost to the economy.
Competitors in the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship return to Builth Wells for their fourth point scoring round, writes Peter Hughes.
With the opening three rounds having produced three different maximum points scorers there is still plenty to play for as the series reaches its mid-way point.
Rally North Wales saw Osian Pryce head the field home, the 2016 BRC runner up and co-driver Dale Furniss in their R5 Ford Fiesta. It was the similar car of Brackley driver Callum Black and co-driver Elliott Edmondson that took top honours on the Plains Rally.
The Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages produced a maximum points score for the Fiesta World Rally Car of former Pirelli Champion Connor McCloskey and John Rowan. However, it is Andy Davies and reigning junior co-driving champion Max Freeman who lead the championship by virtue of a string of consistent performances in their Subaru Impreza.
They hold a nine point advantage over fellow Impreza driver Wug Utting. The Surrey driver, and co-driver Bob Stokoe, are also Davies and Freemanâ€™s closest rivals in the battle for Group N honours. In joint third place are Dylan Davies and Llion Williams who came back from a non-finish on the Plains to take third place on the Severn Valley Stages. They are tied on points with McCloskey and Rowan.