Can the end of the Lord Advocate’s inquiry spur on a closed road return? says...
Nothing prepared the rallying world for the events of 2013 and 2014, the Snowman and the Jim Clark Rallies.
Death is never acceptable in any sport. And, for those who criticise the items on the Motorsport Event Safety Review and how they impact our sport, please bear in mind that people lost their lives.
Yes, the MESR is stringent and there are items which are difficult to get used to as a rally fan. Maybe in the future these can be worked on. But rallying has enjoyed free rein on safety for a long time, and eventually this change was going to come. If it saves lives, we should be working with the authorities involved to do so.
Now that statement has been issued, let’s hope we can get some traction behind a movement for closed road rallies. It’s been one of the key reasons for the demise of the MSA Asphalt Championship and it’s something the sport needs in the UK. Who knows, maybe a closed road legislation bill is closer than you think.
We’ve reached the point in the off-season where drivers and teams are deciding where to go in 2017. Which championship suits them best in terms of competition, development, and often, fun.
A chat with a rally competitor last week spawned the debate, do we have too many events and championships in UK rallying?
One thing the UK has done very well is provide a home for some of the more eclectic creations – of which the UK is blessed with many. If you have a Vauxhall-engined Ford Escort Mk2 or a Millingtonpowered Proton Satria, there’s a home for them.
The debate was initiated by the demise – or at least hiatus – of the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship for 2017, mainly due to a lack of a co-ordinator. A spectacular lack of knowledge from some in the rallying community has resulted in some animosity at the fact Jane Evans has stepped down from the role. But her private reasons are valid and should be respected.
The trouble for the Asphalt championship is the lack of closed-road events, which makes variety hard to come by for its rallies. I don’t believe it’s down to costs; the series has boasted some of rallying’s finest machinery for many years and that wasn’t due to change this year.
There seems to be growing traction for less events and less championships, and I have to say, as long as there isn’t a cull of hundreds of rallies and series, I’m for the idea.
Surely it’s a win-win? For gravel events, space events using the same roads out so that the roads are better quality and easier to repair and maintain. Running five world-class events – which isn’t beyond our clubs in the UK – instead of 10 average ones is surely something competitors would buy into. Perhaps the entry fees rise, but clubs are under less stress because they are organising one event every three months rather than three events every month. Plus the opportunity arises for clubs to join forces and share events, decreasing the workload on the already strained volunteers in rallying.
There’s no doubt that an abundance of championships gives people a home. But there’s so many championships that keeping up as a spectator is difficult. Streamlining the number of events and championships could help to make the sport easier to follow for the masses we are constantly complaining we don’t have, but not doing anything radical to change.
Perhaps there’s aspects overlooked in this column, and MN is keen to hear your thoughts on the subject. But for gravel, the roads would improve and – hopefully – lower repair costs for competitors and also provide a higher quality event. On asphalt, without closed roads, variety is restricted. But running fewer events reduces the saturation of stages used. There’s only so many times you can do Epynt forwards and backwards before it becomes familiar.
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POS DRIVER /CO-DRIVER
Rhys Yates/tom Woodburn Bruce Edwards/jim Smith Alan Kirkaldy/cameron Fair Paul King/alicia Miles Paul Swift/ Patrick Walsh Ian Woodhouse/ Paul Rowland Dave West/ Robbie Hannah Andy Vey/ Richard Fletcher Steve Quigley/ Peter Littlefield Will Owen/ Rob Hopewell