Friday, 8 December 2017

Rally - Motorsport News

There was personal column in this week's 'Motorsport News' that many of you won't have seen - because you don't buy the weekly paper, which is a shame because if we don't buy it, it will disappear. Where else can you get a weekly round-up of ALL motorsport in one publication? And yes, I know it has fewer pages which means shorter reports and news, but that's because you all advertise on bluidy t'internet these days!

Oops, getting carried away, again. As I was saying there was an opinionated column in the paper which generated a bit of discussion and also a request for wider circulation so I have reproduced the full text of the column below just in case those who haven't seen it think it might be of interest:

The Column

"  It would appear from the mainstream media reports on the outcome of the recent Fatal Accident Inquiry in Edinburgh that many reporters and journalists didn't bother to read the full 62,879 word, 172 page 'Determination'. Most of them appeared to concentrate on the word 'avoidable' and wrote their stories starting from there.

Sensation seeking at its best. To hell with the facts and the truth. Go for the headline.

Cynical? That's for sure. Sometimes I despair at the way my 'profession' is heading.

Unlike Sheriff Maciver. He quickly got a pretty good grasp of the nature of this complex sport run by amateurs and the circumstances surrounding both events. It was indeed a most considered and thoughtful summation of those dreadful events on those two separate dark days in Scottish rallying.

The mass media have now had their day and their headlines, and the sport has already moved on. Indeed it had already incorporated most of the recommendations from the Sheriff's Determination and is working on the rest, particularly the difficult problem of tracking rally cars through stages.

This is not something to be smug about. The sport itself has been slow to react, till now. The shocking tragedy which befell spectators on the 1986 Rally of Portugal should have sparked a major review of spectator safety. Particularly since the leading drivers of the day went on strike. Sadly, it wasn't till Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto's death just two months later on the Rally of Corsica that prompt action was taken - for drivers and co-drivers, but not for spectators.

Since then much has indeed been done, just not quickly enough. It could be argued that the sport's various national sporting authorities across Europe and the overall governing body have been rather slower to react. It's only in the past three years following the Scottish Government instigated Motor Sport Safety Review Group  that the sport has seen a radical shake-up. Making the whole sport safer not just for participants, but for spectators too.

It could be argued the British Motor Sports Association is leading the way on rally safety, as there doesn't appear to be the same urgency in other countries as ongoing TV coverage shows.

And lest we forget. There were other victims. The drivers. The accident on the Snowman Rally was nothing unusual for our sport, but the outcome was horrific. As for the Jim Clark accident, the Sheriff himself recognised that one individual put himself in jeopardy, but the problem was, he had others with him.

Both these drivers also have to live with the dreadful outcomes on those fateful days and not just the families and friends of those lost.

As other tragedies have shown, it's not just rallying. Spectators have to exercise some degree of personal responsibility when attending ANY sporting event - not only to themselves but to the sport they are watching. "

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