Spectators, you’ve been warned. Do not attend tomorrow’s Nicky Grist Stages, otherwise rallying will be lost on the Epynt military range for good. That’s the message from the event organizer.
The Nicky Grist Stages will be the second round of the British Rally Championship and the season-opener for the BTRDA Rally Series and Welsh Rally Championship.
Sam Moffett leads the British championship courtesy of his victory at Oulton Park in May, but will face a tough ask to repeat the feat on gravel against reigning champion Matt Edwards, M-Sport’s Rhys Yates, Osian Pryce, Tom Cave and two series returnees: four-time champion Keith Cronin and M-Sport director Matthew Wilson.
However, fans are strictly forbidden from attending the event that will be held within the Epynt military ranges.
Clerk of the course Neil Cross told DirtFish: “The landowner has asked that spectators don’t attend. They’re very busy with their normal activity and they don’t want it disturbed by spectators going in areas where they shouldn’t be.
“Epynt is being used for what it’s designed to be used for which is military training. It’s a new management team in there and they don’t want the clash between the rally and the military training. They want to get their head around what a rally is basically.”
The organizer, and the army, will be operating a zero-tolerance policy. If any spectators are spotted lining the stages the event will be canceled and any future rallies at Epynt will be in jeopardy.
If people think they are above the request then their action will have consequences. Don't ruin it for everybodyNeil Cross
“The army have said that if they come across spectators at the venue, they will stop the rally. And I have given them an assurance that says if we find spectators at the venue, we will stop the rally,” Cross said.
“We just want people to understand that this is not the end of rallying and spectators on Epynt. This is a short-term issue that if we all stick together, and do as we’re told now, come Roger Albert Clark in November there might be spectators.
“But if they don’t play ball now, not only will there be no spectators there’ll be no rallying.”
Spectators won’t be able to chance their arm and try and get away with it either. Drones will be operating that will be able to pick out fans, regardless of where they’re standing.
“It doesn’t matter whether they hide in the undergrowth until the safety cars have gone past because the thing up in the sky will pick you up,” added Cross. “And, they’re also breaking bylaws if they go so they could end up in court if they’re identified.
“If people think they are above the request then their action will have consequences, and a competitor won’t be your friend if they find out you’re the one that caused the cancelation of the rally.
“Don’t ruin it for everybody.”