“Resilience is key to Scottish rallying”
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 The Granite City Rally has been replaced by a new event, the Coltel Grampian Stages, with a new club and team in charge from Stonehaven & District MC.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!