Monday 29 July 2019

Rally - Dead end, or new Beginning?

The Rally meeting ... Rally drivers, co-drivers and event organisers have been invited to an 'open' meeting in Stirling on Sunday the 18th of August. There is just one subject on the informal Agenda - Rallying.

Here's the strange bit. This meeting has been called by competitors! It must be serious, eh?

The principal instigators include drivers Iain Wilson, Des Campbell, Simon Hay, John Wink and co-driver Neil Shanks. They are hoping for a big turn-out to discuss and debate (argue?) about what has gone wrong with the sport in Scotland and what can be done to put it right. Before it's too late! And you know what? They invited Motorsport UK to sit in - and they will be represented.

Dwindling entries and loss of interest have been put down to a number of factors but primarily those relating to cost, red tape and lack of volunteers. Failure to address this situation could result in the sport disappearing off the calendar rather quicker than we might think. If we lose organising team manpower it won't be the lack of competitors which will threaten the future of the sport it will be the lack of rallies.

It might be argued that this is not just a meeting for competitors, it could be regarded as a meeting specially for non-competitors. The folk who really need to be there are those who thought about entering the Snowman and Argyll, the Mach1 and Solway - and then didn't! The sport needs to know and understand why. What has put would-be competitors off? Where has the inclination gone to go out to the garage of an evening to tinker with the car or service van to get ready to rally?

It's not necessarily the front runners who are of particular concern here, the ones who have a privately prepared car and professional support. It's the capacity class competitors, the midfielders, the tail-enders and the newcomers. The crews who run last on the road are every bit as important as those who run first. Rallies need numbers, not just names.

It's no good casting envious looks at David Bogie, Euan Thorburn or Garry Pearson. David started in a Nova while Euan and Garry came through the Peugeot 205 cauldron. The fact that they have achieved success in business just means that they can buy better kit. They should be celebrated not envied. The real point is, where are the Davids, Euans and Garrys of tomorrow?

If the sport is too complex and too expensive to consider in the first place then we have no chance of attracting newcomers. That means we have to get this sorted now. The worry is, 'now' may even be too late.

On that basis, if any competitor or would-be competitor has a serious concern about the future of our sport, then they have to be in Stirling on the 18th of August.

The venue is the Stirling Court Hotel which is on the University of Stirling campus and lies between Stirling and Bridge of Allan. SatNav post code is FK9 4LA - for drivers who are not bringing a co-driver with them! The meeting is timed to start at 13.30 Hrs and the room is booked till 17.00 Hrs

If you don't turn up then you're view won't be heard, if you can't turn up then drop the gang a line. And if you are coming, best to drop them a line to say so to gauge numbers. Worst case will be the old red BT phonebox outside or there is a number of bigger conference rooms inside! They can be contacted through the Facebook group at:

Over to youse. See you there?

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