Builth Wells will, for the first time, host both the start and finish ceremonies of the Quinton Motor Club organised Nicky Grist Stages, with a big motorsport celebration on the morning of Saturday 8 July and the afternoon of Sunday 9 July – to which everyone is invited. And what’s more, both events are completely free for spectators!
Strand Street will be the place to be for the new rally start on the Saturday– where the top seeded cars will be on display from 08.00 and where fans 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. Following the success of 2016, this will once again take place 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.
Keep an eye out on social media for a fantastic SPOT THE RALLY CAR competition – with some great rally prizes!
Councillor Meryl Prynne, Mayor Builth Wells Town Council, said: “We give a warm welcome to all who are connected with the Nicky Grist Stages as once again we see the rally being brought into Builth Wells but this time we are actually having the start of the rally in the middle of town. Staging the start of the rally in Strand Street and then ending the rally on the Groe 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 and we hope that this event might become an annual feature in our town.”
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, said: “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.”
Spectators can also enjoy Nicky Grist Stages VIP Hospitality packages, as these are not reserved for only corporate guests and sponsors! It will be a sell-out experience this year and only a few places are still available for Saturday and/or 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 from Spencer Sport on 01559 371534.