Monday 23 October 2017

Rally - New development

There were no bums on show at the weekend in Otterburn but there might have been a reason for that. The Firing Range was busy. Noisily busy. Like a huge herd of anti-lagged Lancers ready to rally. Apparently the Gibralter Army was on a training exercise. I didn't even know Gibralter had an army. Still you learn something new every day.

Apparently the Royal Gibraltar Regiment is part of the British Armed Forces, so that's alright then. We're not likely to be invaded.

Another thing I learned, the 'Jock affair' is gathering momentum. Quite a number of cars on the Cheviot Stages Rally were sporting 'Justice for Jock' stickers. Even folk who don't really know him very well. It's an incident and an outcome that has captured the imagination of the great British rallying public.

Goodness knows where it will all end. It reminds me of the last time that our governing body was under fire.

It was fully thirty years ago. The MSA was then part of the Royal Automobile Club and there was widespread dis-satisfaction within the ranks. It got to the stage whereby a group of well known figures within the sport made a formal approach to the Automobile Association to create a rival motor sports governing body.

At that time the AA had its principal office in Erskine just to the west of Glasgow so one Scottish and two English members of the group made the approach. In those days the RAC and the AA were great rivals. They were the main two road rescue organisations in the country, and very competitive, so the AA regarded this idea as worthy of consideration.

The Royal Automobile Club got wind of this and apparently used their political connections to stifle the idea under promise of change. That change took a while, and it wasn't till 1999 that the independent Motor Sports Association (MSA) was created  to govern motor sport in the UK.

A brave new world beckoned. And now this. It has to be resolved, and quickly. If allowed to fester it will only get worse.

There's a compromise on the table, but it needs both sides to go for it. The trouble is, the National Court is an independent body too and there would appear to be no mechanism within the current judicial system to challenge its judgements.

In many respects, the MSA is no different from many other sports governing bodies, just look at the fankle the FA (Football Association), the ECB (England Cricket Board), UKA (UK Athletics) and British Cycling have got themselves into recently.

The big difference these days is 'social media'. The fans now have a voice and apparently better understand how to use this new medium rather better than governing bodies and even the national Government itself!

Hopefully, common sense will prevail. Fingers crossed, eh?


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