The Nicky Grist Stages have been given the go ahead to run marking the first forest rally in Wales in over seventeen months. The event, on July 10th, will be the second round of the British Rally Championship though as a compromise there will be no spectators allowed. The event will instead have an enhanced live streaming from Special Stage TV to try and compensate spectators.
The no spectators request has come from the Ministry of Defence as the event takes part on the Epynt Military Ranges, at the same time as the MOD are running military training exercises. For most however this will be a small price to pay so that the first multi-venue event in over a year can take place and move Wales and the sport of rallying back to some form of normality.
Neil Cross, Nicky Grist Stages Clerk of the Course, said: “Following the recent Welsh government announcement that larger events in Wales can re-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. Whilst fans will be disappointed, we trust that they understand and appreciate the situation that the club is in and will instead watch the action live online. It’s not ideal, but it’s certainly better than not having a rally at all.”
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. Add to that the online results system and your viewing of the event will be a lot more informative from your armchair at home. 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.”