And, whatever the weather on 10th July, there’s bound to be plenty of ‘Canned Heat’ expended by competitors on the Nicky Grist Stages, the first round of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series to take place following the enforced lay-off since the Malcolm Wilson Rally back in March 2020. Quinton Motor Club Ltd has been inundated with requests for entries for its Builth Wells-based event and, consequently, the organisers have been faced with the unenviable task of whittling them down to its permitted maximum of 170.

2019 BTRDA Bronze Star (1400) Champion Callum Black (accompanied by Jack Morton) returns to the Series in an MRF Tyres-sponsored Fiesta R5 as he attempts to add the BTRDA Gold Star title to his rallying CVs. Callum contested the 2017 Series in a similar car, narrowly missing out on outright victory.  See main photo.  The popular Fiesta R5s are also the chosen mode of transport for Vivian Hamill / Andrew Grennan, Gareth Sayers / Gareth Gilchrist and Trevor Gamble / Ron Roughhead. Meanwhile Dylan Davies / Mark Glennerster and Ian Bainbridge / Will Atkins, (photo from 2020 Cambrian Rally) who have both had excellent BTRDA results in previous years, will bring their Skoda Fabia R5s back for the 2021 campaign.  Also joining the race to succeed Euan Thorburn as BTRDA Gold Star Rally Champion this year is Tom Llewellin, son of 1989/90 British Champion David, at the wheel of a Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage R5. This will be the young Welshman’s first foray into the world of four-wheel drive rallying but, based on the speed at which he adapted from an F1000 Nissan Micra to a full-house Escort Mk2 (and with an excellent instructor on hand 24/7!), no-one should underestimate the level of commitment to the task ahead!

In times past Class B13 has been a hot-bed of competition and this season looks to be no different on that score. George Lepley / Tom Woodburn return in their Lancer EVOX while Martyn & Dawn England have forsaken their Fiesta for a similar vehicle. Matthew Hirst / Declan Dear and Russ Thompson / Peredur Davies return with their EVO9s, while 2018 English Rally Champions Ian Joel / Graeme Wood remain loyal to their trusty Escort Cosworth.

George Lepley was the 2019 BTRDA Silver Star® Champion but, having now transferred his allegiance to a four-wheel drive car, the way is open for a new name on the Silver Star trophy. Frank Kelly is bringing his famous Escort Mk2 (Baby Blue) across from the Emerald Isle to join the ‘home-grown’ talent and, if his proven speed through the Irish lanes can be translated into the Welsh forests, the likes of 2019 Silver Star runner-up Andy Davison (Talbot Sunbeam VXR) will really have to be on their mettle! 

2017 Silver Star Champion Ashley Davies (2.4 Escort Mk2) is back > (Photo from 2017 Woodpecker) > and Jason Pritchard / Phil Clarke will be hoping their Historic spec. Escort Mk2, which took them to a class win on the 2019 Nicky Grist, can do the same again!  Opposition in the JORDAN Road Surfacing BTRDA Historic Cup is likely to come from Barry Jordan, himself, in his Hillman Avenger while Tom Coughtrie returns with his Mitsubishi Galant VR4.

One of the many success stories of the BTRDA Rally Series in recent years has been the introduction of the BTRDA Rallye R2 Cup. Now taking the concept a stage further, the BTRDA JUNIOR R2 1600 Cup caters for drivers under the age of 25 in relatively affordable 1600cc normally aspirated R2 cars, and carries with it an impressive array of awards for those who are ultimately successful. While Fiestas are currently the predominantly favoured cars – at least Connor Tolson and Rob Wilson believe them to be so! – Ioan Lloyd is pinning his hopes on a Peugeot 208!

Defending FUCHS Lubricants BTRDA Bronze Star (1400) Champion Steve Black, with Paul Morris ensconced in the co-driver’s seat once more, leads the category in his Suzuki Swift, with the Nova of Dave & Toby Brick and Richard Jordan / James Gratton-Smith’s MG ZR in hot pursuit. Among those with an eye to upsetting the apple cart will be Aaron Rix / Abi Haycock (Escort) and Chris Bush / Robert Smith (Corsa).
Meanwhile the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally First Championship sees Andrew Bustard (Escort Mk2) and Simon Stanbury (MG ZR) going head-to-head in the 2.0 litre class with Tom Naylor, son of BTRDA Production Cup Champion Pat Naylor, setting out on the next step of his rallying career in a Nissan Micra.

The Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship in association with SEACON UK also sets sail on the Nicky Grist Stages. In the class-based series, defending champion Steve Black begins his campaign to put his 1400cc Suzuki Swift at the head of the points table when it matters most once again. However, as all BTRDA-registered crews are automatically eligible for English Championship points, not to put too fine a point on it, the opposition will be considerable!…

<<<<<<<  Steve Black (Suzuki Swift) – Motorsport UK 2019 English Rally Champion

The 2021 Nicky Grist Stages has benefited from excellent co-operation and support from Powys County Council, the Ministry of Defence and Natural Resources Wales, but Covid restrictions and MoD Training decree that it will be a NON-SPECTATOR event – the organisers advise that non-compliance could threaten any, or all, of the proposed route. Please stay at home and watch the live-streaming, details of which will be available via the ‘Special Stage’ Facebook page.

Registration for the 2021 BTRDA Rally Series & Motorsport UK 2021 English Rally Championship.
If you have not yet registered for the 2021 championships, you can still do so online at www.btrdamembership.com       2021 Regulations are in the Competitor section of this website
Please complete this registration A.S.A.P. so that we have received your application before the NG Stages.   NB: Due to the prevailing Covid 19 restrictions we are not allowed to set up a BTRDA signing on desk at the NG Stages so registrations must be completed in advance of the event. Championship decals etc will be available at the event from the BTRDA Championship Co-ordinator Ian Arden. Tel: 07917 355169.