In a shock move, there will be no British Rally Championship next year. In 2016 year the MSA will take the series 'in-house'. It will be run by International Motor Sports (IMS), the MSA's commercial business which is also responsible for Wales rally GB.
The MSA received only two tender submissions for the renewal of the contract. After careful consideration, the MSA concluded that the BRC should take a one-year break in 2015. During this time IMS will undertake further consultation before deciding which types of events, cars and drivers should comprise Britain’s premier rally championship in the coming years.
The new MSA Chief Exec, Rob Jones, said: “The BRC is one of the UK’s premier championships and to rest it for a year was not a decision that we took lightly. It is certainly a big move, but we gather a lot of feedback from around the country and one thing that our members tell us is that they really want us to govern and lead the sport."
“I would like to pay tribute to Mark Taylor and everyone at UK Rally that has worked so hard on the BRC for the past decade. Mark has often borne the brunt of some of the problems with the sport and has taken the championship through very difficult economic times, but no one has put more time and effort into the BRC than Mark. If it wasn't for him, it is highly questionable whether there would even be a British Championship at all right now.”
If there is one issue that divides rally fans these days it is the future direction of what is supposed to be Britain's top rung of the rally ladder. So if the MSA is going to canvas opinion and consult widely they should be careful who they speak to.
British rallying currently doesn't have a role model, and I include Kris Meeke in that opinion - unfortunately. Whilst he has a huge following in the sport he hasn't ignited the greater public interest in the way that McRae and Burns did. And perhaps the fact that 'mainland' press haven't taken much interest in him or in the sport is
perhaps one of the causes for his lack of wider public recognition and acceptance.
The only time the 'great' British press take an interest in our sport is when things go wrong. So what would be helpful is a strong and properly promoted International/National British Rally Championship that would attract the talented and ambitious and help to put the sport back on the national stage. Once that is established we will have the perfect platform on which to promote and get behind the new stars of the future.
Now where, did I put my pipe - dream on?