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The Nicky Grist Stages 2023

Photos courtesy of Black Mountain Media, Ben Lawrence Photography & Paul Mitchell Photography

The Nicky Grist Stages based in Builth Wells saw a number of club members out on the stages in some tricky but extremely hot conditions inside the competing cars.

Top of the finishers was Phil Clarke sitting in with usual driver Jason Pritchard in the North Road Garage, Trailhead Get Jerky, JS Handling sponsored Ford Escort Mk 2 reported a trouble-free and enjoyable day other than a small moment with Jason’s foot slipping between the brake and clutch pedals on SS1. The pair set fastest class times on all of the stages resulting in a creditable 10th overall and Class H3/4 win.

Robert Gough/Paul Morris – 13th overall, 2nd in Class H3/4

A good run through SS1 although reported struggling a bit through the next three stages. Head down in the afternoon saw some good setting of times although they didn’t have an answer to Jason and Phil this time. Fantastic battle with their nearest rivals seeing them come out on top by a mere 3.3 seconds.

Richard Gough/Sam Collis – 36th overall, 9th in Class H3/4

Much interest was made of the magnificent legendary Ford Escort Mk 2 of Richard Gough making a stunning appearance. A great day had by all with nothing major to report other than an overshoot entering PC2!

Lucy Wilding/Ashley Francis-Adams - 56th overall, 2nd in Class 1400C.

The pair reported an eventful morning in their Nissan Micra after forgetting to do the tyre pressures on SS1. SS2 in Crychan flowed well and was enjoyable. Unfortunately, SS3 was undertaken non-competitively due to an accident and SS4 saw them lose some valuable time after incorrectly being slowed down by spectators just over the jump only to find after a quarter of a mile the stricken competitor displaying an OK board. SS5 provided the fastest 1400 time however it was felt this was a bit out of their comfort zone, so reigned it in a little for the remaining three stages to assure a finish and all important championship points.

Clive Price/Robbie Sandford – 97th overall, 11th in Class B11

A trouble-free day in the BMW for the regular pairing saw them get to the finish without any drama.

Simon Rogers/James How – DNF.

The pair went into this event on the back of 3 out of 3 solid finishes so far in the Welsh Championship which left them second in the overall standings. Long experience of the sport meant that an interruption to this consistent flow of results was not unexpected. The first two stages felt like they went well but both were concerned to hear a noise about 5 miles into Crychan which disrupted their flow. However, nothing seemed amiss with the car’s performance and at the end of the stage they found some of the underbody guards had worked free from their mountings and were dragging on the ground. They were a bit back on their normal rivals after these two stages so vowed to push harder on the next two. In SS3 Halfway they found a better rhythm although the pairing reported they saved the final mile of Monument for their biggest moment of the season. A really fast long drag up from the valley bottom ending in a tightening right hander meant that Simon simply never picked out what he had in his notes as his braking marker, barrelling into the tight corner probably two gears higher and 30 mph faster than intended. Somehow the car clawed its way round using a sizeable chunk of the inner banks in the process.

Having survived the moment, they returned to service to fettle a few things then straight back out onto the afternoon lap. They pushed harder on the Lyn Login stage but only knocked 2 seconds off their previous time so now only lay 2.4 seconds behind their main championship rival. The long Crychan stage was up next, the obvious place for a concerted push which is what they did. A time 13 seconds quicker than their previous attempt was very pleasing with no real moments to report, bumping them up a few places, 7 seconds clear of their rival. Into the penultimate stage and running well in the first mile, there was a loud bang, and it was immediately clear that the prop shaft had snapped.

To add further pain, the joint that let go was brand new before the event, only replaced because some wear was detected in the old one. A cruel sport as we all know. It’s now all down to a heavily revised Woodpecker Stages Rally in September when the pair hope to be back on form to resume their championship campaign.

Colin Griffiths/Sion Rowlands – DNF.

Not the end to the day the crew wanted or deserved. They started with rather good pace lying 30th overall on the first stage and by service they were up to 25th overall. Again, good pace after the lunch halt saw a 15th fastest stage time and going into the last stage they were really flying and very settled with the car until coming into a hairpin right just a mile from the end the driveshaft broke and ended their day.

Gary Smith/Emma Clarke – DNF.

Both reported enjoying the first two stages in the Escort Mk 1 and used SS1 to get into the swing of things and started to push on a bit in SS2. They continued on well in SS3 before hitting a bump mid-bend halfway through the stage which sent the car wide, tipping them onto their side in the ditch. A gaggle of spectators helped to right the car but unfortunately with a broken track rod end they could not get back to service in time to fix it.

Championship points will automatically be available on the Club's Event Calendar - Latest Championship News when updated by Championship Co-ordinators.


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