MORE than 130 racers are poised to tackle Quinton Motor Club’s annual stages rally this Saturday.
This year the event, which is based around Builth Wells, has been renamed the Nicky Grist Stages in honour of the club’s vice president and legendary World Rally Championship co-driver.
A number of talented British drivers will be competing against the Quinton members on the iconic gravel roads around the Epynt Ranges in mid-Wales.
Halesowen’s John Connor will be co-driving veteran Surrey pilot Wug Utting while Neil Matthews, who has had a mighty impressive 2012 season in the BTRDA Series until a roll on the last round in Nottinghamshire, is fighting to get his car repaired in time.
Other regular Quinton competitors joining the fray include Geoff Cottrill and Nathan Crewe in their MG Metro 6R4, Paul Walker and Vern Brown in a Subaru Impreza, Marlon Roberts and Steve Deeley in their MG ZR and Adrian Mayall and Rob Hayden in the Alfa Romeo 33.
The Quinton-run rally is again part of the REIS — Get Connected BTRDA Rally Series, the premier championship in the UK for clubmen, who compete over some 44 miles of fast gravel roads in cars ranging from the World Championship-type supercars through to the humble Nissan Micra — with every make and model in between.
Grist made his name guiding the likes of Colin McRae and multiple-world champion Juha Kankunnen and, clerk of the course Neil Cross is thrilled by the closer partnership between the Quinton organisers and the world renowned co-driver.
He said: “We have rallies in this country named after famous drivers but this is the first with a co-driver’s name against it.
“Nicky is known throughout the world for his achievements in rallying and — for youngsters — for playing a major part in a number of rally computer games.
“With his name attached to our event, interest has been coming from across the world — including Australia.”