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Cottesmore based rally driver George Morrison will head to this weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages, aiming to put right his devastating last minute retirement from the event last year.

Morrison will contest round five of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series which is based in Builth Wells in his usual MG ZR and has his sights set firmly on repeating his class 1400C podium scored last time out in Cumbria. He will be co-driven once again by fellow HM Forces Mechanic, Jon Quintrell.

Having missed the opening round of the series in March, Morrison would look to the Somerset Stages to begin his championship assault but was forced to retire with a broken driveshaft. A third in class at the DMACK Carlisle Stages has offered a glimmer of hope to his points position but will now face his “nemesis” in the Nicky Grist Stages this weekend.

“Don’t remind me about last year” mused Morrison. “I think it’s always every rally drivers worse nightmare to retire on the opening stage of a rally, or even on the last stage but to have to retire on the road section back to the finish ramp is really a bitter pill to swallow”.

“We had a troublesome lead up to the event in 2016 too after I broke my wrist which forced me to miss a round” he continues. “Then, after 40 miles of driving and just metres from the end of the stage, we broke a shock absorber. I got it over the line to get a time so technically we finished, but I just couldn’t drag the car back to Builth Wells. It was devastating for us and the team”.

Morrison is hoping for a clean run this time round and a finish is a priority. With infamous stages in the Welsh forests being used in the event, he hopes that the addition of the British Rally Championship crews at the head of the field won’t make the going too bad for the later runners.

“It’s always a tough event but the stages are great and truthfully one I enjoy,” he says. “It’s going to be rough though, with the BRC guys bringing out the rocks so I`ll have to pick my way around them. A finish is the goal although a second class podium would be nice”.

The Nicky Grist Stages takes place on Saturday 8th July and consists of over 40 competitive miles in the forests around the Builth Wells rally base.

Image Paul Mitchell Photography

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