Friday, 27 March 2020

Rally - Looking ahead


If anyone thinks that the resumption of rallying will be a quick and orderly process when the time comes, forget it. To assume that such a logistically difficult sport to organise can simply pick up where it left off, then I'm afraid it's not going to be quite that simple.

Of course Plans, Routes and Time Schedules will still be in place as will a central core of any organising team, but we won't know what state the country will be in when the worst of the current crisis is past. When running a rally on private forestry and/or tarmac roads, let alone closed roads there are certain legalities and processes which have to be observed regarding the gaining of official approval and permissions from central government, local authorities and of course the Police not to mention the management of local facilities needed to host events.

Keen as they might be to help, you can bet your little suede driving booties that they will have other priorities to attend first. And you can bet motor sport will be way down that list of priorities. The big money sports like Football, the Olympics and F1 will be way ahead - but even they will be well behind folks' health and welfare.

That aside, many of those who participate in amateur sport, whether competing or officiating, may well have endured hardship - or worse. No matter how high the desire to get back to normal, personal and business circumstances will undoubtedly change over the weeks to come.

On that basis, perhaps the sport could use the current enforced layoff to get itself into shape, not so much for the end of this season, but for 2021.

Naturally communicating with groups will be difficult but we live in more electronically advanced times. With Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp groups, Dropbox and the like most of us have the means to 'meet up' and keep in touch. Oh, and there is one other means of keeping touch. It's called a telephone.

The SAMSC (Scottish Association of Motor Sport Clubs) is already looking at keeping in touch using such technology and perhaps clubs and organisers could take advantage of that to form separate 'thinktanks' to look at the possibility of coming up with a calendar that will address the needs of rallyists and racers alike. It's one thing rallies running too close together, but when you include motor races and speed events, that places a huge burden on marshalling 'man / woman / person power' demands.

It is also likely that there will be a volunteer shortage as things, hopefully, get back to some sort of normality, so calendar rationalisation will be desirable.

Another item concerns expense. Many folk may not have the budget to resume, even if they have the desire, and this is where Navigational and/or Targa type rallying could fill a gap and in doing so re-establish itself as the beginner's choice.

Looking further ahead, there is a need to consider the impending switch from petrol to electric. Stage rallying may well be out of reach of electric cars, but not necessarily navigational and Targa events!

Oddly enough, I've got my own ideas and they'll be in next month's Pacenotes Magazine - if not censored by the Editor!!

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