An agreement between Quinton Motor Club, the Motor Sports Association and Natural Resources Wales has been reached so all 45 gravel stage mile route of the Nicky Grist Stages this weekend will run as originally planned.
The negotiations between the MSA and NRW had given Quinton Motor Club, the event organisers, a number of route options – but the agreement sees the best possible route confirmation outcome for the event and for the 180 crews who have entered.
This means that all the 5.92 mile Crychan forest stage will be used as originally intended, along with the opening 2.45 miles of the 6.05 mile Halfway stage. The other two gravel stages, Route 60 (4.92 miles) and Monument (5.46 miles) are run entirely on military land.
All four gravel stages will be run twice on Saturday 9 July, meaning a fantastic 44.70 miles of competition for competitors in the MSA British Rally Championship, Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, HRCR Stage Masters Challenge, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, ANWCC Historic Stage Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge.
The BRC will continue on Sunday 10 July, where there will be a further 10 stages on Tarmac over the famous Epynt military ranges. Four stages – Quarry (4.39 miles), Cilieni (4.52 miles), Deers (4.42 miles) and Tank (4.36 miles) – will be tackled twice, together with New Road (11.77 miles) and ending with the longest stage of the event, Drovers Return (11.84 miles). Day two’s competitive distance totals 58.99 miles, giving BRC competitors an overall total stage distance of 103.43 miles.
On the Saturday, centralised servicing will be located at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, while on the Sunday there will be a remote service on the Epynt ranges and all stages will be run in daylight.
With three events remaining in the 2016 Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship anyone looking to stop Luke Francis and John H Roberts from claiming the title needs to make their move this weekend when they tackle the Nicky Grist Stages.
The Rhuddlan driver and his co-driver, from Colwyn Bay, have taken maximum points in their Mitsubishi Evo 8 on all four Championship rounds that they have entered so far. Overhauling them will be no easy task although it is possible.
Perhaps the biggest threat comes from Dylan Davies. The Subaru Impreza driver from Llanon currently lies second despite two non-finishes so far this year. With competitors only counting their six best scores from the eight round series Dylan remains firmly in contention.
Early season leader Andrew Jones has slipped to third place in the overall standings but the Ford Escort driver still heads the Vital Equipment Junior Welsh Championship for drivers under 25 as well as the two wheel drive category. Another driver to have had more than his fair share of misfortune this season is Andy Davies. That includes a retirement from the last round, the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages with fuel pump problems on his Subaru Impreza
Nevertheless, he currently lies fourth overall in the Championship and leads the Group N category ahead of reigning Group N champion Paul Davy and Surrey’s Wug Utting. Andy’s co-driver, Max Freeman, meanwhile leads the co-driver standings in the Vital Equipment Welsh Junior Championship.
Other crews looking to get among the overall honours include Steve Simpson and Mark Glennerster in their S2000 specification Ford Fiesta and Martyn and Dawn England in their R5+ version.
A whole host of Ford Escort crews will be vying for points in the two wheel drive category, among them Hywel Davies and Richard Crozier and David and James Young.
There are also plenty of class battles to be settled, such as Class 4 where just two points separate the Ford Ka of Alun Roberts and Bob Vardy’s R2 Fiesta while in Class 5, five points separate the Peugeot 309 of leader Tim Cains from the Ford Escort of Flying Kiwi Boyd Kershaw. In Class 3 there are six points between top two, James Williams and Matthew Jackson.
There’s another tight battle in the Ravenol Welsh Challenge, run in conjunction with the Championship. With points determined by drivers’ performances within their class, it’s Luke Francis who leads from Andrew Jones but four drivers are tied on points in third place with just two points separating the next four drivers.
All in all, the Championship’s competitors have plenty to fight for this weekend.