Sunday 14 May 2023

Rally - Back to normal

Kames today provided a vivid contrast to yesterday’s Extreme E event, although it has to be said that the electric car races were rather more spectacular today due to the Scottish weather. It rained. The course turned to mud. And the competition looked a bit more like dodgems in the wet after yesterday’s dry conditions with huge clouds of stoor trailing the cars. So in one sense it was exciting but not in any other senses. There’s no doubt the cars are very quick and hugely powerful digging for grip in the dry and sliding everybluidywhere in the wet and the mud, but there’s no bark from any exhaust and no discernible gear changes. No heightened sense of drama. It was like watching a silent movie.

Fast forward to today’s Albar Trophy meet at Kames and enjoyment was restored. You didn’t need eyes to know when someone was on the throttle, or off it, and when they were going for gears. Sweet music restored. The competition is different too of course. No racing, just one car on track at any given time but the enjoyment is multiplied with the addition of sound.

Someone said Extreme E will never replace rallying. He was right of course, but the Extreme E organisers have never claimed that it would. They are trying to offer something different and have their own reasons for doing it which I will go into later this week.

The rally cars may have been less powerful and slower than the electric machinery but the Kames track gives the drivers plenty to do. And in doing so, rewards the spectators with an enhanced spectacle, the mechanical cacophony enhancing the visual treat.

Yes, there is a place for Extreme E, but it won’t and can’t replace stage rallying.

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