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HRCR Stage Masters – Nicky Grist Stages 2023

Nicky Grist Stages

Amazing, happy competitors. That about sums up the latest round of the West Wales Rally Spares Stage MastersChallenge where competitors tackled 8 forestry tests on the Nicky Grist Stages in Crychan, Halfway and on 2 sections of Epynt gravel, Llyn Login and Gwibedog. The rally was based in Builth Wells as usual and the sun shone for the Friday documentation session but changed to warm and overcast by the Saturday morning. Some rain fell to damp the dust down but by the afternoon it was dry and dusty again.

Fresh from a great result on the Manx Rally Baz Wheeler and John Pickavance were on a high and their Group 4 class D5 Ford Escort had been refurbished in readiness for this event. Nothing disappointed on the day and they came home a very creditable 24th overall taking another set of maximum points.Behind them in the class Mike Simpson and Dale Gibbons took second and were pleased to have a good run after pre rally charging issues after scrutineering. Peter Jones and Gareth Davies are always steady but enjoy their rallying and took more useful Challenge points with third.

Class C5 has been the preserve of Jonathan Brace and Paul Spooner on previous gravel rounds and it was no different this time as they out paced Andy Stokes and Jonny ‘Tad’ Evans who were bridesmaids once again. Brace was impeded slightly with wipers that would not work properly and a lump of tape stuck to the windscreen was the solution, stopping the wipers from over shooting the screen! Stokes and Evans survived a last stage moment, Stokes bruising his arm in the incident. Jeremy Wells took the next spot and thoroughly enjoyed his day out encountering no problems whatsoever.

In class D3 it was Hywel ‘Post’ Davies and Ian ‘Photos’ Jones who drove well in their pinto engine Ford Escort Mk2 to take maximum points, they were also the recipients of the Exol Oil award for their performance at the Brawdy Stages and encountered no problems to round off a perfect weekend.

Unfortunately there had to be one tale of woe and it was left to Ben and Steven Smith to provide this. On special stage 1 they broke a steering arm on the Amigos Mk1 Escort which put them out of the rally instantly but they repaired the car and contested the afternoon stages for fun. This was apparent at the end of the final stage where there were still huge smiles.

Action shot Ben Lawrence, People and static Martin Leonard