JOHN FIFE

“Re­silience is key to Scot­tish ral­ly­ing”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Re­silience is the key to suc­cess in ral­ly­ing, not just for com­peti­tors, but for or­gan­is­ers too. When the go­ing gets tough, the long and suf­fer­ing silent ma­jor­ity just have to dig in and get on with it.

The Scot­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship suf­fered a set­back this year when it lost two rounds, but fast for­ward a cou­ple of months, and there are two new events on the cal­en­dar. The Gran­ite City Rally has been re­placed by a new event, the Col­tel Grampian Stages, with a new club and team in charge from Stone­haven & Dis­trict MC. They also have a new start and fin­ish venue – the 16th cen­tury Crathes Cas­tle.

Over on the west coast, Mull Car Club has plans to rein­tro­duce the Ar­gyll stages around Dunoon, with its first event planned for June next year. A pre­vi­ous at­tempt to rein­tro­duce these clas­sic for­est tests foundered five years ago, but with a place in the cham­pi­onship cal­en­dar next year, hopes are high once again.

Mean­while, and speak­ing of re­silience, the Jim Clark Rally team are hav­ing to muster as much as they can with the wait for the Lord Ad­vo­cate’s re­port into the 2014 ca­su­al­ties on the event con­tin­u­ing.

No one in author­ity has yet stated that a closed pub­lic road rally can­not go ahead, but the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment says that it’s up to Scot­tish Bor­ders Coun­cil to make the fi­nal de­ci­sion, while the Coun­cil says it can’t un­til the Lord Ad­vo­cate is­sues his fi­nal re­port.

And since the Lord Ad­vo­cate is a Min­is­ter in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, rally fans have been left as-yet un­sat­is­fied.

Al­ready three lo­cal MPS and MSPS have signed the club’s pe­ti­tion while the ‘Rally Pe­ti­tion’ booths set up at lo­cal agri­cul­tural shows have gen­er­ated hun­dreds of sig­na­tures and gen­uine sup­port.

One lo­cal B&B owner was ex­tremely vo­cif­er­ous say­ing she has lost £1000 per year from her mod­est en­ter­prise point­ing out that her vis­i­tors not only stay dur­ing the rally, but also visit at week­ends dur­ing the year to drive the roads.

There is an­other big is­sue fac­ing the sport, not just in Scot­land, but across the UK, and that con­cerns the on­go­ing dis­cus­sions in Wales be­tween the sport and Nat­u­ral Resources Wales. Ru­mours sug­gest that the Forestry Com­mis­sion, in Eng­land and Scot­land, is al­ready con­sid­er­ing an in­crease of around 10 per cent in fees next year while venues for Tar­mac ral­lies are be­com­ing much harder to find.

To that end, the Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Car Clubs is seek­ing to es­tab­lish a Rally Work­ing Group which will be tasked with ad­dress­ing the grow­ing con­cerns of com­peti­tors and or­gan­is­ers with the hope of im­prov­ing the in­creas­ingly hos­tile sit­u­a­tion.

Con­sid­er­ing the Forestry Com­mis­sion is head­quar­tered in Scot­land, the SACC is ide­ally placed to go knock­ing on doors!

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