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MSA presents Junior Rally driver proposal
The proposals, presented to the Motor Sports Council in February, would allow children aged 14 and above to hold MSA competition licences entitling them to compete on stage rallies, subject to stringent conditions. These conditions are of paramount importance to ensure that the safety and well-being of potential competitors is at the forefront of any new regulations.

The Rallies Committee believes that by opening the door to younger drivers, it will increase the appeal and participation in rallying and thereby help to safeguard the future strength of the sport. The proposals would also bring rallying into line with other racing disciplines in which drivers are now regularly competing from the age of 14.

However, unlike circuit racing, the rally environment is unpredictable, so it is proposed that any Junior Rally venues or events would have to be free of trees and other hazards in order to be deemed suitable for younger drivers.

To combat the requirement for rally drivers to hold a regular road vehicle licence, it is envisaged that potential venues would not come under the jurisdiction of the Road Traffic Act, nor have any footpaths, bridleways, or byways on or crossing any part of the course, including link sections and service areas.

The proposals were agreed by the Motor Sports Council for debate and further consultation according to the following criteria:

Drivers:
14-16 years inclusive. Minimum height 1.4m (4ft 7”)

Licences:
Licence to be held by Championship Organising Club and the Licence to be restricted to Junior Rally Formulae Only (as in Junior Race Championships)

Co-Driver:
Child Protection Accredited adult, MSA Competition Licence Holder, ideally a licensed BARS Instructor, but not parent or family member

Cars:
Maximum 1000cc standard engine/transmission, production car and fully MSA Stage Rally Safety Compliant

Venues:
No footpaths, bridleways, or byway on or crossing any part of the course, including link sections and service areas. Venues must be free of trees and other hazards.

Events:
Events must be MSA permitted competitions, if forming part of a championship registered with the MSA.

“The MSA has long resisted calls for an age reduction in rallying because of the inherent dangers associated with the sport,” says Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive. “In circuit racing, the potential hazards are carefully controlled and designed to minimise possible risk, but the same cannot be true of the natural hazards encountered in rallying.

“However, there has been a feeling among the rallying community for some time that the sport was losing out, in particular in relation to circuit racing, in not being able to accommodate people under the age of 17 so, subject to stringent safety restrictions, we have agreed to put this forward for consultation. In reality, this proposal is not going to enable 14 year-olds to compete in stage rallies, but is probably more applicable to certain controlled single venue events.

“The MSA is fully committed to widening participation in motor sport, and bringing young drivers into the sport is a key part of that, but we will not do this at the expense of safety considerations which will always remain our top priority.”

Release MSA07-039: 3 May 2007

For Media Information Purposes - No Regulatory Value