Sunday 6 November 2022

Rally - The Stooshie - Part 2

The previous post certainly generated interest and debate and that's a good thing. Britain and the sport needs a premier, popular, high profile rallying championship series. The point is, does what we have at present fulfil that role?

Here's the thing. If a company produces a product which doesn't sell in sufficient quantities or numbers to be profitable then the manufacturer has little choice but to reduce the price or change the recipe, and if that doesn't work, cancel it. That's where we seem to be with the current BRC format.

If the BRC does not attract sufficient numbers of competitors in its present form to make it viable then should it be allowed to carry on being propped up by other more successful events? Or should the recipe be changed?

What often seems to be overlooked in these discussions is what the competitors want. Without competitors, there is no sport and no need for spectators or sponsorship. On that basis, the starting point is obvious.

By its very nature rallying is an exciting, stimulating, invigorating and sometimes adventurous sport which makes it attractive to many folk. The big stumbling block is expense. Not just in the competition equipment required but in staging the competitions themselves.

Competitors have to be attracted while organisers have to be encouraged. Where things go wrong is when well intended decisions work against popular appeal. Some faceless entity or committee independently decides what is best for competitors and determines the rules which organisers must implement and abide. Get those basic decisions wrong and things start to become difficult.

On that basis a one day event with an easily understood class structure and a manageable number of stages offers a simple solution from which to start. Creating a regional or national championship should therefore be relatively uncomplicated.

However, just as competitors are ambitious so too are organisers and many have the desire to organise bigger and better events. That desire should also be encouraged as it benefits the wider sport as the success of the Jim Clark and Argyll have shown.

The real problems arise when  trying to create an aspirational, premier championship which encompasses the four home nations. Selecting nine individual events to form a premier representative series should in theory be straightforward. Pick the best and most successful events with one over-riding stipulation - a new championship should be an OPEN championship.

The 'Run what you brung' rule should apply to all cars. If it has a Log Book, complies with current rally car regulations and is passed by the pre-event Scrutineers, then it should be allowed to compete. On that basis, all entered crews should be treated equally. If an event allows a recce then all should be allowed to recce, not just a favoured few.

The playing field should be level. If a professionally run team with an R5 car can't beat an amateur outfit with an R5 car then so be it - we're looking for champion drivers and co-drivers, not necessarily the best financed and equipped. And if an R5 car gets gubbed by a Millington Mk2 shouldn't the driver be recognised for his/her achievement?

As the previous post suggested, British Championship points would be allocated separately from regional championship points and those crews pursuing BRC points would not necessarily be up against the same regional opposition on every round.

Rallies need entries to survive, not more restrictions.

As to the question of spectators and sponsors, that could be Stooshie - Part 3! However, there is another bigger threat on the horizon. Rallying will have to justify its future with respect to environmental issues and carbon offsetting otherwise the greens will have us off the road altogether.

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