Meirion Evans is one of very few drivers worldwide to have competed in four top R5 cars – a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Škoda Fabia R5, Hyundai i20 R5 and Ford Fiesta R5; all prepared and run by the family’s Melvyn Evans Motorsport business.

In recent years, he’s been making a big name for himself in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, and had started the 2020 season well with fourth overall on the Galway International Rally.

Still only 24 years of age, it’s incredible that Meirion has been rallying for more than 10 years – all thanks to him hanging up his football boots aged 14 and making his competitive driving debut in a Nissan Micra on a round of the 2009 Formula 1000 Junior Rally Championship.

Since then, Meirion has gained a lot of experience by driving a wide variety of cars in all sorts of championships – like a Fiesta ST in the British Rally Championship Challenge, a Group N Subaru Impreza STi in Ireland, a Citroën DS3 R3T on selected British and Irish gravel and asphalt rallies, a Peugeot 208 R2 in the Junior British Rally Championship and a Peugeot 208 R2 in the French Peugeot 208 Rally Cup. But he feels most at home now in an R5 car, and in particular in his current Michelin-shod Polo GTI R5, which is supported by The Scan Station.

This is what Meirion has to say about his Stilo WRC DES Composite helmet, which is supplied by Nicky Grist Motorsports.

What crash helmet do you wear and what makes it your number one choice?
“I use a Stilo WRC DES Composite helmet. It’s by far the most popular choice these days and it’s easy to see why. It looks modern, very durable – I’ve had the same helmet since 2012! It is comfortable to wear, especially with glasses, and the service I receive from Nicky Grist and Stilo, if I want anything done to it, is second to none, so I wouldn’t really consider anything else.”

What is the story behind the design and colour scheme of your helmet?
“I had the helmet for a couple of years and I had considered upgrading to a carbon one, but there was nothing wrong with the one I had. I also wanted a cool design put on the helmet, so I kept the original composite and got in touch with Piers Dowell to see what he could do with it. A lot of people seem to put their nation’s flag on their helmets and I wanted something different and distinctive so I thought an Angry Bird would be different. It looks really good and it turns heads sometimes, which I think is a good thing. Photographers seem to like it anyway!”

What have been the most significant helmet changes during your career?
“I’ve not done much to it. The padding on the inside wore a bit, so we changed some of them a few years ago, along with the chin strap which had frayed. Then for this year we changed the ear defenders, as I'd found toward the end of last year that I could hear a bit of car noise. I again considered a new helmet but after speaking to the guys at Nicky Grist they recommended I tried this first as it wasn’t a huge investment and it’s done the trick!”

What incident springs to mind, where you were thankful you were wearing a good quality helmet?
“I think it’s important for every incident I've had. I’m very safety conscious. It’s a peace of mind for me knowing that I have the best equipment. I’m really fussy about being comfortable in the car and having a seat that fits well and a helmet that is a good quality and comfortable to wear. It’s so important, as you don’t have time for the distractions a poorly fitted helmet could give you and this could lead to accidents.”

What advice would you give someone starting out in motorsport, as regards helmet and safety equipment in general?
“Don’t cut corners! It's really that simple. I don’t think you can put a price on safety. Make sure everything is comfortable and fits you well and get acclimatised to wearing a FHR, etc. Make sure the helmet fits you well and the same for a seat. I always found a seat with good side support to be very helpful for my back and ultimately I would recommend a wrap-around seat as well as it just provides a little more protection to your head for side impacts.”

Meirion Evans, Melvyn Evans Motorsport, Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Škoda Fabia R5, Hyundai i20 R5, Ford Fiesta R5, Stilo, Wales