THE Nicky Grist Stages will be the first major forest rally to be held in Wales in 17 months – but fans will not be present.

The rally, which takes place at the Epynt range near Brecon on Saturday, July 10, will stream the rally action after the Military of Defence requested no spectators due to the amount of military training that is taking place at the site on the same weekend.

Organisers, Quinton MC, accepted fans would be disappointed and the situation "not ideal" and appealed to spectators not to travel to the area on rally day, as access to the stages will be heavily marshalled and strictly not permitted.

Anyone flouting this appeal could halt the Nicky Grist Stages, and put the future of rallying on and around the Epynt military range in jeopardy.

"It’s not ideal, but it’s certainly better than not having a rally at all,” said Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course

“Following the recent Welsh Government announcement that larger events in Wales can r-start, together with further confirmation from Motorsport UK, we have effectively been given the green light to run as planned.

"Both NRW and the MOD have also confirmed that we can use their land, but the MOD has said that it is on condition that we don’t have spectators.

"Although linked to Covid-19, it is more to do with the demand on the training facility than anything else.

"With the majority of the stages taking place on MOD land, and to avoid any confusion and misunderstanding on the day, we have decided that the most sensible option is to make this year’s Nicky Grist Stages a non-spectator event.

Meanwhile Nicky Grist said after 17 months of waiting the compromise was one organisers were prepared to make if it meant an end to the long wait for a return.

Nicky Grist said: “Making this year’s Nicky Grist Stages a non-spectator event was never our intention, but it had to be taken to safeguard the future of rallying on and around the Epynt military range.

"I know fans will be disappointed, but the live streaming of stages will allow everyone to watch the action as it happens – and every competitor will be covered, from as many of the stages as possible.

"We’ve all waited a long time for rallying to return to the Welsh forests, and we knew that in these unprecedented Covid reopening times some compromises would have to be made – and we thank the fans for their understanding and look forward to welcoming spectators back in 2022.”

The Quinton Motor Club-organised event is a round of eight major championships – namely the British Rally Championship, MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship, National Rally Championship, English Rally Championship in association with Seacon UK Ltd, HRCR Rally Masters Stage Championship, the Welsh Historic Rally Championship and the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship.