The Builth Wells-based Nicky Grist Stages has won the prestigious BTRDA Rally Series ‘Rally of the Year Award 2019’.

Event organisers, Quinton Motor Club, received the accolade at the recent British Trial & Rally Driver Association’s annual gala awards ceremony.

Voted for by competitors, the Nicky Grist Stages was praised for the quality of the stages, which last year saw 43 stage miles run in the Mid Wales forests of Crychan, Halfway, Monument and Llyn Login.

There was also praise from competitors for the innovations at last year’s Nicky Grist Stages, in particular the move into the centre of Builth Wells which saw the start and finish in Groe Park.

Meanwhile the service area was moved to the Builth Wells RFC pitch while the rally headquarters moved to Strand Hall and scrutineering moved to moving to modern workshop facilities at North Road Garage.

With continued support from Builth Wells Town Council, Powys County Council, Builth Wells RFC, North Road Garage and the people and businesses of Builth Wells, this year’s Nicky Grist Stages will continue to use all of these facilities.

With the rally attracting around 1,000 visitors into Builth Wells for the weekend, the Nicky Grist Stages is developing into one of the town’s biggest events and a major economic boost to the picturesque market town.

Planning is well underway for the 2020 Nicky Grist Stages, which will once again form part of the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Forest Rally Championship, the new MRF Tyres BTRDA Mixed Surface Championship, the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, the MRF Tyres Fiesta ST Trophy and FMP Rally Challenge.

Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “I am immensely proud that the work of our fantastic team has been recognised by the BTRDA. It’s always an achievement to be in the running for the Rally of the Year Award, and to win it means that the competitors liked what we did.”

County Councillor Jeremy Pugh (Action for Powys, Builth) said: “This is fantastic news that the Nicky Grist Stages has won such a prestigious award and it’s great that the town of Builth has been an integral part of that.

“This was the first time that we had hosted the Nicky Grist Stages in the town centre and it has been a huge success in supporting the local economy and the high street and we look forward to working together for many years to come.”

Gwyn Davies, Builth Wells mayor, said: “The Nicky Grist Stages brought a lot of trade and visitors into the town and it was an honour for me to start the rally off and present the awards at the end of the event.

“I would like to congratulate Quinton Motor Club on winning the award and we are looking forward to welcoming the them back for this year’s rally.”

Nicky Grist said: “I am delighted for Neil Cross and the whole Quinton Motor Club team on this award and I am proud to be associated with them all.

“Year in and year out the effort that goes into the event is nothing short of staggering.

“Rest assured that their efforts will not diminish, and in 2020 and beyond they will make the event even better in the years to come.”

This season’s championship begins in Llandudno on Saturday with the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.

On March 14 the series heads to Cockermouth for the Malcolm Wilson Rally and on April 18 the Rallynuts Stages will be held in Llanelwedd.

The 75th annual Scottish Rally takes place in Lockerbie on June 6 before the Nicky Grist Rally starts in Builth Wells on July 11 with The championship concluding in September with Ludlow hosting the Woodpecker Stages on September 5 and the Trackrod Forest Stages in Filey on the 26.