Wednesday 11 May 2016
Future of Scottish motor sports
If you were watching telly last night you may have glimpsed a very small sports news item or read some bland announcement in today's press regarding SportScotland awarding Scottish Motor Sport a grant of £360,000 over 4 years to develop the sport in Scotland. Considering this same body gave £2m to netball last year and just under £2m to bowling, it doesn't seem an awfy lot, but it's a start.
And it's quite possibly a start we might not have managed without Sir Jackie Stewart.
If anyone doubted the value of Sir Jackie's name on the bidding process, listening to him getting laid into the politicians (in the most polite and diplomatic manner you could ever imagine), in a way that the SMS folk couldn't without causing offence, was a delight to behold. He's got nothing to gain so he's got nothing to lose, but he put his weight and competition record behind this initiative.
It was reminiscent of that impassioned plea he made to representatives from Edinburgh District Council when he fronted a campaign to create a Scottish Motor Sports Centre at Ingliston in 1989. That failed to get off the ground for a number of surmountable reasons, but the insurmountable one was Edinburgh District Council, the same bunch of bampots who screwed up the Edinburgh grand tram airport-to-Leith plan. The result of which was a financial mismanagement mess that we're still paying for and which ended up over budget, behind schedule and shorter than planned.
Anyway, what the SMS have achieved with SportScotland is merely a start and if they make good use of the cash over the next four years then this could unlock much more support. Initially, the SMS will engage a National Development Officer to work alongside Rory Bryant to deliver the four key aims of the 4 year Strategic Plan.
£360,000 may sound a lot but divided by four years equates to £80,000 per year and with two salaries to pay it doesn't leave the two Development Officers with a huge budget to splash across motor racing, sprinting, hillclimbing, autosolo, stage rallying, navigational rallying, bike racing, motocross, enduro, trials and karting etc. On that basis they will be very much dependent on clubs doing their bit and that's where most of the effort will be expended, helping clubs to attract new members, promote their events and encourage folk to participate.
In other words, it's down to us to do our bit and more to help save our sport. Many of the clubs expend huge effort and much time doing just that, but perhaps now they can look forward to a bit more professional help.
There's a full account of what transpired yesterday in the on-line mag, but at just over 3,000 words it's a serious coffee and tea-cake marathon. Only you can decide if it's worth the read or not, but there are a couple of gems and some interesting facts and figures along the way: