IT might be his local gravel round of the Probite British Rally Championship, but Machynlleth’s Osian Pryce hasn’t rallied a four-wheel drive car in the Myherin, Hafren and Sweet Lamb forests for eight long years – which makes his appearance on this weekend’s Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages all the more challenging and special.

In fact, the famous mid-Wales forests aren’t somewhere that Osian has rallied very much at all in recent years. After a few rallies there as a junior, his first rally in a four-wheel drive car, the 2014 Wales Rally GB, visited these forests before returning on what was his last appearance on that event in 2016. True, he has rallied there in an Escort Mk2 since, but now it’s back to full commitment and high corning speeds in his state-of-the-art Dom Buckley RSC-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally2.

Osian and Rhodri in the Dom Buckley RSC-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally2
Osian and Rhodri in the Dom Buckley RSC-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally2 (Pic supplied)

In preparation, Osian had a half day test yesterday at the new and exclusive The Leading Edge tuition and test venue – which had never had a rally car run there before, yet was an excellent representation of this weekend’s classic Welsh forest stages.

Having challenged for the lead on the opening round of the BRC, the Legend Fires North West Stages, Osian and co-driver Rhodri Evans are keen to get their first high-scoring points finish on the board on Saturday.

“We had a good test, made a few set up changes and progressed well with the car as the morning went on, so everything is looking good,” said Osian.

“You never know until the rally starts how close to the leading pace you’re going to be, so we’ll have to wait and see on that one. It’s a tricky start to the event for sure. The opening stage in Sarnau might be quite short, but it’s knife-edge stuff – yet you can gain a few valuable seconds if you’re committed and it goes well. A good run through there will set you up for the rest of the loop and that’s what we plan to do.

“It’s been a surprisingly long time since I’ve rallied in these mid-Wales forests in a four-wheel drive car. I’ve done the Roger Albert Clark Rally in an Escort Mk2, but that’s not really going to help me now!

“The competition this weekend will be fierce and it’s going to be a longer flat-out sprint than usual – but I’m looking forward to the challenge and rallying in front of my home fans again.”

The Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages begins this evening (Friday 12 April) with a ceremonial start outside the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells. All the action takes place on Saturday (13 April), with seven stages totalling 62 stage miles. There will be four stages in the morning – Sarnau, Tarennig, Myherin and Sweet Lamb totalling 29 miles – before midday service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd. The afternoon loop contains three stages, a repeat of Sarnau followed by the two longest stages of the event in Myherin Main (15.82 miles) and Hafren Main (13.34 miles), before the finish back in Llandrindod Wells at 17:35.

Osian is supported by The Leading Edge, Michelin, Demon Tweeks, Bell Racing helmets, OMP race suits, Hills Ford, DL Jones Pontrobert Ltd (coach and taxi hire), MotoFit (performance training), Redkite Glass, Cwmni Diogel (Security and Event Management), Kitchen Door Changer, Speedy Sofas, Gorsaf Betrol Tymawr/Rheidol, and his own family-run specialist building firm G+M Pryce.