The Rallynuts Stages Rally makes a welcome return to the British motorsport calendar this weekend as the popular Builth Wells based forest event gets underway on Saturday [15 April].
Sponsored by established racewear and accessory firm Rallynuts Motorsport who enter their seventh year as title sponsors, the event takes place for the 49th time and the Midland Manor Motor Club organised event has attracted an impressive entry of over 120 crews who will tackle seven world-class stages in mid-Wales during the day.
The highly regarded rally offers tests in forests such as Myherin, Sweet Lamb, Hafren and Sarnau will challenge even the most experienced of competitor as organisers introduce a selection of new routes to ensure the event remains fresh and exciting for both competitors and fans.
A scintillating entry has been bolstered by contenders from the MRF Tyres BTRDA Rally Series, Motorsport UK Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship, West Wales Rally Spares HRCR Stage Masters and the IPS Rally Challenge. This year, the rally also welcomes the Bowler Defender Challenge, an exciting single-make formula for the all-new Land Rover Defender models.
Last year’s event winners Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear will undoubtedly be aiming for a back-to-back win on the Rallynuts and carry the coveted number one on the doors of their Ford Fiesta R5. As the top seed, they have a target on their backs and an impressive run at Rally North Wales last month means they are in top form at present.
And they will need to be, as 2021 event winner Elliot Payne is showing great pace in his brightly liveried Ford Fiesta Rally2. Contesting a dual BTRDA and British Rally Championship campaign, Payne and co-driver Tom Woodburn took the top spot at the opening BTRDA round of the season in Cumbria and know exactly what is needed to win in the Mid-Wales tests.
Aaron Newby embarked on his first BTRDA title trail in 2023 and has the pace to trouble the leaders in his Skoda Fabia R5. With the experienced Jamie Edwards alongside, Newby took second place in the BTRDA in Cumbria last month and could well give the Ford duo ahead something to think about during the day.
Ian Bainbridge and Will Atkins are settling into their new Ford Fiesta Rally2 this season and start as fourth seed whilst Russ Thompson and Stephen Link round out the top five in their Mitsubishi Evo IX.
Four-wheel drive machinery dominates the top fourteen places but leading the two-wheel-drive fraternity is three-time British Rally Champion Matt Edwards in a Ford Escort MKII. With fiancé Jess Hockley in the co-driver’s seat, Edwards will be using the event for seat time and will be trying to keep an impressive list of historic entries at bay behind him.
They include Joe Price in a Ford Escort MKII, Nick Elliott in the stunning FIAT 131 Abarth and local hero Jason Pritchard whose family Toyota dealership sits a stone’s throw away from the rally headquarters at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.
And fans will have plenty of opportunity to watch the action on the stages or get up close and personal with the cars and crews in Builth throughout the event.
The Showground will host the pre-event technical checks and documentation on Friday [14 April] from around 13:00 – 18:00 and then Saturday’s [15 April] start and finish ceremonies at 08:00 and 16:25 respectively. Crews will also return there during the day for mid-event service from around 11:30 and entrance is free.
Smaller-engine cars and the older historic category vehicles will lead the crews away from the Showground from 08:00 Saturday morning in a reverse-seeded order, followed by the main field in a “fastest first” running order.
Spectators are welcome to watch the action from three viewing areas during the day, with cars passing each location twice. The opening stage of the rally, Myherin West, kicks off at 09:00 on Saturday morning with the second pass scheduled for 14:05.
Hafren Sweet Lamb offers the famous spectacular water splash viewing spot at Sweet Lamb and will see the first car at 10:02 with the second stage at 14:50
The Cwmysgawen test offers the chance to see the cars at 10:53 and again at 15:41. Admission to all stage-side spectator locations is cash only and tickets are available at the gate. Tickets are not transferable between the three locations.
For more information on ticket prices, entries, locations, and timings, please visit www.rallynutsrally.co.uk/spectators