Born the 1 November 1961, to the parents of Graham and Brenda Grist of Ebbw Vale, during his school years he grew up in the areas of Ponthir and Gilwern and attended the local school of Brynmawr Comprehensive.
During his schooling his grandfather started to introduce him to golf at the local Monmouthshire Golf Club at Abergavenny and very soon became the Junior Club Champion. He left school at the age of sixteen due to the golf course offering him there assistant Professional golfer. .
Not long after he started to watch local motorsports, which gave him another interest in life and it wasnít long before he started to compete in races which saw him giving up the golf. .
The next phase in his life was in the mid 1980ís just after he started work as a salesman for a local car company, and races were being won by Grist which helped him progress quickly through the sport, culminating with semi-professional and then a full-time career within six years of my first real year of competition. .
His life started to take off after seeing him as a co-driven for Armin Schwarz and Juha Kankkunen and of course the late Colin McRae, for whom he was co-driver between 1997 and 2002 in the World Rally Championship. In this role he both replaced, and was succeeded by, Derek Ringer. However, he returned to partner McRae in the Scotsman's final three WRC events in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. .
Today he assists and owns the Nicky Grist Co-Driver Academy to help young co-drivers wishing to make an impact in the sport. He is also involved with Nicky Grist Motor sports Ltd, a business which sells motor sport products. .
Grist is also known for providing the talk overís for the co-driver's pace notes in most of the Colin McRae Rally video games and as a presenter the WRC on the American Speed Channel.