Thursday 9 July 2020

MS UK gives green light to Rallying

Rallying is Go, or maybe not ... Motorsport UK has today announced that rallying will be allowed to get back on stage - provided the organisers comply with the latest Government health advice and Motorsport UK guidance. They have also issued a link to the MS UK guidance which is soberingly enlightening. But if anyone thinks this will provide a fast fix for those denied the whiff of hot oil and rubber mingling with fresh pine and hot tarmac, don't raise your hopes.

The guidance being issued follows on from that issued by the FIA two weeks ago and although designed to reduce the risk of transmitting the Covid virus it brings with it more responsibility and makes more demands on the already over-worked amateur rally organising teams. The surprising thing is, quite a few of these teams are up for it!

However, the fact that the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments are moving at a different pace to the Westminster outfit means that the MS UK guidance cannot be as universal as the sport would like. Otherwise the MS UK's regulations list all the additional duties that will be required, not least of which is keeping ALL equipment sanitised and re-sanitised if and when used and all the while managing social distancing requirements.

In fact, if you see a known rally official hunkered down in a wee corner rocking backwards and forwards on his or her heels, with hands clasped over his or her head and wailing, please be compassionate and sympathetic.

However the biggest challenges are likely to be presented by Service Areas needing to be larger to accommodate teams keeping their distance and of course, spectators. The best advice here is that single venue events are  more likely to be manageable than forest/closed road events.

And as expected, numbers of media personnel are to be reduced with the recommendation that it be "single media syndicated".

The full text of today's Press Release is below with a link to the MS UK Guidance (well worth a read!) at the end of it:

Motorsport UK has today (Thursday 9 July) announced that the discipline of Rallying will now restart in the UK following the distribution of the governing body’s latest sporting guidance.

Motorsport resumed across the British Isles on Saturday 4 July with 12 events signalling the resumption of motorsport after a 110-day sabbatical, due to the coronavirus outbreak. There are a further 160 events set to be held throughout July, across eight different motorsport disciplines with British championships also resuming in August.

Following the successful restart of motorsport last weekend, Rallying will now follow suit, as Motorsport UK moves into the next phase of getting the sport back on track.

Single and multi-venue, closed road, navigational and road rallies can now begin to resume under the latest guidance. Several events are set to be staged later this season, with the OMC Rally Time Trial in Northern Ireland, Abingdon CAR-nival Stages in Oxfordshire and Harold Palin Stages Rally in Lincolnshire ready to welcome competitive action. The organisers of the Jersey Rally have also committed to the planning and running of a closed-road asphalt event in October.

Motorsport UK is acutely aware that different devolved territories of the UK may be moving at a different pace in easing restrictions and any application for an event permit will be subject to approval based on the prevailing local government advice.

Hugh Chambers, Motorsport UK CEO, said: “We were delighted with how our first weekend of motorsport went following the suspension of all permits. Upon visiting the various events it was clear members of our community were incredibly enthusiastic. Rallying had to follow at a later date, as we worked upon the relevant information and followed the latest government guidelines. Following the updates from the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), this has enabled us to work on similar procedures to accommodate both driver and co-driver in a vehicle. We have also put together information for event organisers, giving them time to implement appropriate measures and Motorsport UK is here to help support or clubs restart this popular discipline."

There will be a number of caveats to granting event permits, including event organisers committing to the updated guidance, ensuring that appropriate PPE requirements are met, and that each organiser must appoint a COVID-19 Officer to ensure compliance with any relevant guidelines. Any resumption of motorsport is contingent on event organisers demonstrating that they can plan in accordance with the recently published, 'Getting Back on Track' guidelines from Motorsport UK, while respecting relevant local government guidance.

MS UK guidance for rallying here:

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