A certain columnist in last week's 'Motorsport News' raised concerns about the safety of rally crews in stages when things go wrong. There is an established procedure (detailed in the MSA Blue Book) which has to be followed, but accidents don't always conform to text book practices.
There is another issue too. One raised by an experienced competitor who commented: "I can often drive for miles through a forest stage these days without seeing a soul - that's actually quite worrying."
And whilst it would be nice to have stages fully manned by Marshals who were stationed within sight of each other all the way through a stage, that's about as likely as Jaggy Bunnet setting a fastest stage time through Craigvinean on his bike.
So what's the alternative? Bring back spectators? It's a thought, but they would have to be given advice and the knowledge of what to do when things go bump in the forest. Many of the regulars already know what to do, but if we can give newcomers a sense of involvement and responsibility, then who knows, they might just respond in a positive manner.
Of course there will always be the eedjits, but there is a growing appreciation that a culture change is needed. Sensible spectators can set an example for others to follow and if the sport can offer advice and information about the practice of 'sensible and responsible spectating' then perhaps this culture change can be accelerated, and we can all get back to some semblance of normality.
There is a full opinion piece on the subject here: