“Bo­gey les­son has to be learned”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Last week­end I headed up the M6 on a pil­grim­age to a rally I’d never at­tended but had al­ways looked on with a watch­ful eye. The Pirelli. Carlisle. Kielder. Hav­ing done the recce on Fri­day, my ex­cite­ment was through the roof. The stages were of the high qual­ity ex­pected from ev­ery­thing I’d read and viewed about one of Europe’s big­gest man-made forests. And they were fast. So fast.

In fact, were they too fast? A cou­ple of con­ver­sa­tions with driv­ers on the recce started the alarm bells ring­ing. “We’re go­ing to have trou­ble with the bo­gey here,” claimed one driver. Oth­ers agreed on the speed in­volved even be­fore jump­ing in com­pe­ti­tion cars.

The bo­gey was oblit­er­ated in SS4 by Evans, who went just un­der half a minute quicker. The bo­gey is, in case you haven’t read, a no­tional av­er­age time awarded to a driver if he or she com­pletes the stage with an av­er­age speed of over 70mph on a gravel stage.

The bo­gey. Is it a safety fea­ture? Yes and no. Did be­ing given a piece of paper show­ing a no­tional time make El­fyn Evans slower through that stage? Clearly not. Should the threat of a bo­gey time en­cour­age or­gan­is­ers to keep the route un­der 70mph to keep the cars from go­ing too fast? Yes.

The bo­gey has been a part of ral­ly­ing for as long as any­one can re­mem­ber. Is it out­dated? Should it be lifted, do we want or­gan­is­ers cre­at­ing stages where cars can av­er­age 90mph for ex­am­ple? I’d have to say no. While we all want to see high speeds, there’s a ceil­ing to be reached where car and driver sim­ply shouldn’t be go­ing that fast, not just for the safety of the driv­ers but for the safety of stage crews and spec­ta­tors too. If speeds rise, so do the chances of ac­ci­dents.

I agree with El­fyn Evans ( page 20) in that this shouldn’t hap­pen again, but how do we do that? It’s tough with­out putting an R5 with the Welsh­man at the wheel through the stages be­fore the event to know ex­actly. How­ever, rough cal­cu­la­tions can be done to work out how fast the cars should be go­ing, us­ing places like Fin­land as an ex­am­ple.

What we saw last week­end was a wake-up call that the cars and driv­ers are quicker than ever. Which is why it was so frus­trat­ing that the out­come of the rally was ru­ined by the bo­gey times. We’re see­ing a cham­pi­onship in its first year pro­duc­ing some of the fastest and most ex­cep­tional per­for­mances any­where in the world. Lets not ruin that by al­low­ing bo­geys to take over.

Or­gan­is­ers take heed. The cars are fast, and routes need to be matched ac­cord­ingly. Forc­ing or­gan­is­ers to make its events In­ter­na­tional level is an op­tion for the BRC – who were ut­terly help­less in Carlisle, but that would only give them around a 5mph in­crease in the av­er­age with the bo­gey rule a grey area on in­ter­na­tional events. Is that a com­plete and to­tal an­swer? No. But on a sep­a­rate note, the BRC is big and im­por­tant enough that the events should be in­ter­na­tional any­way.

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