Threat to rally

The Oban Times - - Front Page - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

THE Mull Rally looks to be in jeop­ardy af­ter or­gan­is­ers said it is un­likely to go ahead in Oc­to­ber ow­ing to ‘in­sur­mount­able’ in­sur­ance costs.

OR­GAN­IS­ERS of the Mull Rally say that due to ‘in­sur­mount­able’ in­sur­ance costs the event is un­likely to go ahead in Oc­to­ber, al­though they are work­ing hard to en­sure an al­ter­na­tive event takes its place.

The sport’s gov­ern­ing body, the Mo­tor Sport As­so­ci­a­tion, says it is of ‘con­sid­er­able re­gret’ that in­sur­ance costs have af­fected the an­nual event.

In a state­ment from 2017 Beat­son’s Mull Rally or­gan­is­ers it was stated: ‘It is a mat­ter of con­sid­er­able re­gret for the or­gan­is­ers and the Mo­tor Sport As­so­ci­a­tion, the sport’s gov­ern­ing body, that Mull Rally can­not run as a closed road event in 2017 due to in­sur­mount­able in­sur­ance is­sues.’

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Rob Jones ex­plained the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion: ‘ The Mull Rally runs un­der a pri­vate Act of Par­lia­ment.

‘It has emerged that the pri­vate closed road leg­is­la­tion raises very sig­nif­i­cant in­sur­ance chal­lenges for Mull this year, which was first thought to ren­der the Mull Rally unin­sur­able.

‘The MSA has been en­deav­our­ing to find a so­lu­tion with its bro­kers.

‘ Whilst the bro­kers have of­fered a po­ten­tial so­lu­tion for 2017, this is un­for­tu­nately to­tally im­prac­ti­cal as each and ev­ery claim un­der the pol­icy would be sub­ject to a very sig­nif­i­cant ex­cess payable by the or­gan­is­ers, and one which the or­gan­is­ers can­not af­ford.’

Con­se­quently the Mull Rally is un­able to run as a closed road event this year.

It will be the first time the world-renowned three- day rally, which last year at­tracted 150 crews and gen­er­ates around £1 mil­lion for the lo­cal econ­omy, will not be run on closed pub­lic roads since the event was granted its Act of Par­lia­ment in 1990.

‘This de­vel­op­ment has come as a mas­sive shock,’ Andy Jar­dine, Mull Rally clerk of the course, said on re­ceiv­ing the news, ‘as we were well on with a lot of the early work of set­ting the route and pre­par­ing the pa­per­work.

‘As I un­der­stand it, the MSA has been work­ing be­hind the scenes to try to agree a work- around but have been un­able to come up with an ac­cept­able so­lu­tion.

‘Our at­ten­tion is now fo­cused on what can be done in the short timescale to make sure some­thing hap­pens over the week­end.’

Don­ald Brown, chair­man of the Guardians of Mull Rally, ad­mit­ted can­celling the 2017 Mull Rally would have a neg­a­tive fi­nan­cial im­pact on the is­land.

‘There’s no deny­ing this is a huge blow to the is­land and its busi­nesses who work hard to wel­come the com­peti­tors, vol­un­teers and spec­ta­tors each year to the is­land in Oc­to­ber,’ Mr Brown said.

‘The or­gan­is­ing team is en­deav­our­ing to put on an al­ter- na­tive mo­tor­sport event for the same week­end on Mull.

‘Nat­u­rally those plans are at a very early stage of de­vel­op­ment, but it’s hoped the new event will be at­trac­tive to Mull res­i­dents, com­peti­tors, vol­un­teers and spec­ta­tors alike.

‘Ini­tial fea­si­bil­ity checks have been started to see what can be done to mit­i­gate the im­pact and we hope we can rely on our reg­u­lar vis­i­tors con­tin­u­ing to sup­port us.’

Or­gan­is­ers hope that fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of the Fa­tal Ac­ci­dent In­quiry into the Jim Clark and Snow­man ral­lies, that the Scot­tish Govern­ment will quickly adopt leg­is­la­tion which will al­low the Mull Rally to make a re­turn in its closed road for­mat in 2018.

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