Following the departure of Andrew Coe from his position as Chief Executive International Motor Sports Ltd (IMS), the MSA’s wholly-owned commercial subsidiary, the MSA has appointed Ben Taylor to take up the role.
Taylor has been MSA Development and Communications Director since 2011, leading the MSA Academy young driver programme, the Go Motorsport club development scheme, the MSA’s network of Regional Development Officers and has been involved in the current Closed Road motor sport campaign.
In his expanded role, Taylor will continue to be responsible for those MSA activities in addition to leading the promotion of Wales Rally GB and the sporting organisation of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone through the IMS subsidiary.
Prior to his full-time MSA appointment, Taylor had previously been involved with the Tyrrell F1 Team in 1997, Nissan in the BTCC and with the BTCC championship itself. Following an F1 season with Honda he joined Orange as International Sponsorship Manager then worked on various accounts for a London PR agency, before setting up his own consultancy four years later.
Alan Gow, MSA and IMS Chairman, said: This restructuring is important for the MSA’s strategic development. We recognised the need to put the growth and development of the sport at the heart of the governing body’s activities, whilst also integrating many of the programmes and commercial opportunities.”
Ben Taylor added: “I look forward to working with the IMS team and everyone involved in the organisation of Wales Rally GB to build on the great platform of last year’s event. We have a fantastic long-term partner in the Welsh Government, whose commitment last year made such an impact on the success of the rally. We look forward to working with them to integrate the rally further into the fabric of the country and demonstrate the extraordinarily positive impact that motor sport events can have on a region.”
The MSA has made no further comment on Coe’s departure, but there was friction at the top when the Welsh Government Assembly threatened to pull out of its contract in 2009. That was down to doubts about Britain’s continued presence in the WRC. With the WRC trying to introduce a ‘rota’ system for events, there was no guarantee that Rally Wales GB would continue to be a counter in the World series on an annual basis. On that basis the Welsh government threatened to pull its funding and it all got a wee bit nasty for a while.
Another low point was reached in 2012 when the main event attracted only 31 international entries. Since then things have improved, but it looks as though the Rally will continue to be based in Wales for the foreseeable financial future.
And don’t go thinking that means the stages in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Kielder and Scotland will be all the better for not having WRC visitors. Where do you think the Forestry Commission is encouraged to do its best work? And I’m not just thinking trees.