Live mil­i­tary ex­er­cises and poor weather cre­ated drama

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon Photos: Jakob Ebrey Jack Benyon

Nicky Grist be­lieves the rally that car­ries his name has some­thing to build on after its first run­ning in a two-day, gravel and as­phalt for­mat.

An event tak­ing in gravel and as­phalt stages around Epynt hasn’t hap­pened since the 1980s, with the Quin­ton Mo­tor Club look­ing to run an event sim­i­lar to the leg­endary Welsh In­ter­na­tional.

The or­gan­is­ers over­came a num­ber of is­sues which hit the event. The Sat­ur­day stages ran with min­i­mal is­sues, but crews re­ported rut­ted roads and poor con­di­tions in the af­ter­noon after bad weather.

On Sun­day the start was de­layed by over an hour as the mil­i­tary on the ranges im­peded the stage set-ups.

Grist said: “I think the con­cept is good. It’s been a very tough event for the or­gan­is­ers, there’s been a lot of army ma­noeu­vres out on the ranges which caused prob­lems overnight and with the stage set-up this morn­ing. I think we’ve learned a lot. Run­ning a two-day event is not some­thing the club has done be­fore and I think there’s a lot of pos­i­tives to come out of it. I think we’ve got some­thing to build on.”

The con­cept of run­ning mixed sur­face was met with al­most universal praise from teams and driv­ers. Podium fin­isher Desi Henry be­lieved the event was a dif­fi­cult chal­lenge, some­thing the driv­ers al­ways ask for.

“It’s a tough rally,” said Henry. “A very good rally, very men­tally drain­ing, the fact that the first day was gravel and the sec­ond day was Tar­mac. I def­i­nitely en­joyed it, Epynt will take a bit of get­ting used to it’s not like your av­er­age Tar­mac stages. But I can’t com­plain, it’s been good.”

One is­sue that did cause de­bate was the set­ting up of chi­canes on Epynt.

With bo­gey times an is­sue in the BRC this year the or­gan­is­ers set up 16 chi­canes in or­der to slow down the BRC 1 crews in or­der to pre­vent no­tional times. But the crews re­ported chi­canes to be too tight for their cars. Grist said the or­gan­is­ers were aware of the is­sues and worked hard to find a com­pro­mise.

“I can’t say it’s been bad,” he said. “The chi­canes have been a con­sci­en­tious is­sue we knew that be­fore the start. The in­for­ma­tion we had after the Pirelli, we thought bo­gey times were go­ing to be an is­sue and we worked re­ally hard on that. I worked hard to put it to­gether.”

BRC man­ager Iain Camp­bell added: “The for­mat of gravel and as­phalt was well re­ceived by our com­peti­tors at the Nicky Grist Stages last week­end.

“Neil and his team had a chal­leng­ing cou­ple of days but coped with them well. As with any­thing new, there are lots that can be learned and de­tails amended for the fu­ture but it was a chal­lenge the teams took on and en­joyed.”

The event fea­tured a new fin­ish with Builth Wells’ most fa­mous land­mark, a bridge, in the back­ground.

Con­di­tions were poor and chi­canes caused de­bate with crews NG Stages ran Epynt for the first time

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