02 Jun: Rallying’s future? Pg3

Time to Think – and to Plan – 3

And so it will be again with hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

If we don’t get on top of this before it starts, the technology race will kick off, costs and prices will increase and more folk will be put off rather than attracted.

On that basis, the sport needs to look at the structure. At the risk of causing an uprising, perhaps the British Championship should go back to an ‘open’ all-comers, ‘run what you brung’ series. Once upon a time the premier British series was called the ‘Open Rally Championship’ and it would be nice if that could return, a truly open championship, open to all-comers in all cars, even the home built machines – if they pass scrutineering. It’s not as if there is huge manufacturer interest in the championship dictating that only current homologated machinery can be used (scared of being beaten by older technology?) so open it up, get the entries in and make it a bigger spectacle, even if that means running a ‘National’ class or two.

Currently so few people can afford to run a modern R5 or WRC machine that the competition lacks numbers. That is a cost restricted, not talent restricted, competition. Open it up, attract more drivers and older cars, and who knows some of them may give the ‘stars’ a hard time on a good day. Give talent and determination the chance to shine through.

National championships could be for modified cars but only R5 and WRC cars dependent on age – 5 years or older? There is an ongoing problem here too though with some older ‘WRC’ machinery appearing with newer spec bits on the cars. The excuse that these are a cheaper option might have to be discussed prior to use!

Regional championships could cater for standard production machines only. Modifications would be restricted to safety, brakes and suspension, but engine enhancements would have to be strictly controlled and policed. There would also need to be classes to cater for older cars and clubmen, but what a spectacle, eh? Of course you’d have to fit in genuine Historic cars and all those fancy Escorts which have about as much in common with original cars as a Police Box has with Doctor Who’s ungodly machine. We want this to be an ‘inclusive’ sport, not an ‘exclusive’ one!

Of course an equally big issue affecting the immediate future of the sport, is spectators. How can their safety be managed along 40, 50 or 60 miles of forest roads or countrified tarmac? It’s one thing controlling the eedjits inside a stadium or arena where you have a chance of spotting and isolating them, but on a rally? That’s like trying to screw the cap back on a well shoogled bottle of Irn Bru.

Thinking back to the Craigvinean event … [Next Page 4]