02 Jun: Rallying’s future? Pg2

Time to Think – and to Plan – 2

Such cars might therefore be considered ideal for single venue events only at the present time, with short stages and shorter road sections. Or, like Coltness CC’s well received and enjoyed McRae Gravel Challenge 3 years back which had basically 4 different stage layouts in Craigvinean forest. A great day out but entry limited by lack of sufficient nearby space for a service area and the restrictions on how many cars you can get through such a short format in a limited time span. There are indeed large forest complexes around with that sort of scope, but lacking anything like that marvellous new car park facility at Greenside in Kielder right in the heart of rallying country.

However, this format may well appeal to Closed Road events provided the organisers can find a decent 3 or 4 stretches of rural road near a suitable urban location. The recently proposed ‘Coast to Coast Rally’ (currently covidly postponed!) in the south west of Scotland looked ideal from that point of view and might just point the way forward for others thinking of organising a compact closed road event on mainland soil.

The trouble is, the minute a new technical rule is announced, it fires up engineers and scientists, whose only desire is more performance and more power, and then seek to exploit those rules. That’s how the technology race starts and prices increase. It’s a natural human thing and one that would be difficult to control, unless we resort to one-make championships.

There is a downside with that too. Such a series lacks variety. 40 years ago rally entry lists looked like a christmas tree. The stars were at the top and then as you got lower down the string, the lights all just looked the same. In times past, strings of Group 1 Escorts were followed by a procession of Peugeot 205s with Toyota Corollas or Ladas bringing up the rear.

One-make categories bring their own problems too. There’s always someone trying to stretch, bend or break the rules regarding eligibility just to gain an advantage. Regulations would have to be very carefully written and scrutinised. If some performance parts were to be allowed on say ‘safety grounds’ then those parts would have to be first approved for use by the sport’s governing body. And if an engineering firm or parts accessory manufacturer wanted to produce their own they would have to be approved before sale too, just so that everyone has a chance to buy the same kit and ensure a level playing field. Naturally the promoters of such a series will have the option to veto those parts they think merely enhance performance and are too expensive. That’s where many such challenges failed in the past when those who could afford better bits had faster, better handling motors! That also means stricter scrutineering and more knowledgeable scroots!

On the other hand these one-make championships were good fun and good for the sport giving some folk a taste for it, and the ambitious the desire to get better and faster cars, hopefully  to progress up the results and start winning rather than just making up the numbers.

And so it will be again … [Next Page 3]