|THE WAY AHEAD FOR STAGE RALLYING
Report to the Motor Sports Association Council
Study Group members: Mike Broad (Chairman), Tony Fall, Colin Hilton, John Richardson, Rick Smith and Stuart Turner.
The Study Group`s remit was to address the need to balance and control stage rally championships. The current championship structure is overly complex. There are overlaps between series and the structure needs to be clearer. Therefore championships will need to accommodate change. The Study Group`s report, presented to the MSA Council on the 18th September 2003 for their consideration, aims to provide a sustainable and stable future for stage rallying into the next decade.
2. GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS
2.1. EVENTS. Events must be competitor driven and organised to attract competitors. Events that appeal to drivers are also more likely to attract sponsors and marshals without whose support rallying would simply not happen.
2.2. REGULATIONS. The MSA and in turn organisers, should work to keep all regulations as simple as possible. International events must use FIA regulations and all other events must use MSA General Regulations (Blue Book).
2.3. CLASSES. In the interests of attracting as many entrants as possible, MSA regulation K37 should be used as the basis for eligibility in all events, other than internationals which require homologated cars. Organisers are encouraged to set class breaks in line with FIA groups and/or capacities where thought appropriate.
2.4. YOUNG DRIVERS. Clearly for the future health of rallying we need to attract young drivers. The MSA should set up a working group to look into this area and to consider academies, mileage limitations, and qualification of passengers. The British RallyX Drivers Association should be consulted over their Junior Rally X, which is described as a juniors` route into rallying. We recommend that a sub-group of experts be appointed to report back to the Rallies Committee by mid-2004, with proposals to run a pilot scheme for 14/16 year old drivers using specified vehicles in controlled environments, with training rather than competition, as its main feature.
2.5. NEW DRIVERS. Having noted that the MSA Rallies Committee believes that new drivers should “progress” based on experience, we recommend that the procedure for upgrading licences presently in place for circuit racing be considered.
2.6. FUNDING AND FACILTIES. The MSA with the Motor Sports Development Group must be proactive in providing assistance to clubs, promoters and organisers about initiatives for rallying and to develop centres of excellence. In addition, they should also provide advice on liaising with the Regional Development Agencies, Local Education Authorities, Councils and other relevant bodies, over funding, availability of land etc.
2.7. CHAMPIONSHIP APPLICATIONS. The MSA should develop standard forms to be completed by organisers who wish to be included in a championship or to move to a different one. The Study Group has produced samples, which could be used by championship organisers when applying to run a series. These will help to ensure safety on events and the on-going financial viability of events and championships.
2.8. COMPETITOR SEEDING. Competitor seeding must only be by reference to driver performance.
2.9. ROUTE INSTRUCTIONS. Only route instructions authorised by specific event organisers may be used by competitors on that event.
2.10. TITLES. All championships in Divisions 1 and 2, to be titled ‘MSA`. The championship sponsors name may also be included in the title.
2.11. LICENCES. The Group believe the current licensing nomenclature is confusing and certainly not clear to newcomers to the sport. We recommend the following should be adopted, commencing in 2005:
International For events in Division 1
National For events in Division 2
Regional For events in Division 3
Clubman For all other events
Licensing qualification should be based on the experience of the competitor.
2.12. ENTRY FEES. In the recent DTI report it was stated that competitors must realise that without organisers and marshals there is no sport. Event funding is a major problem. While it is recognised that clubs have traditionally paired their costs to the bone to keep entry fees a low a possible, it is suggested that this policy be reviewed to enable organisers to have adequate funds to provide all the organisational and safety features that stage rallying now demands.
3.1. The UK has more championships than most other countries. This stretches resources and is the area that needs most urgent attention.
3.2. The Study Group does not envisage a reduction in the number of events organised per annum in Division 1 and 2. We expect the existing events to be redistributed within the new championship structure, dependant upon the permit level and aspirations of the event.
3.3. No more than 12 events should count for any championship.
3.4. It is recommended that events be categorised in three divisions as outlined below. The categories proposed would offer a clear ladder of opportunity for WRC and JWRC competitors who wish to progress in the sport.
3.5. The MSA Rally Championship Control Panel must approve all Division 1 and 2 Championships and events
3.6. MSA Championship organisers must endeavour to achieve a wide geographical spread of events throughout the UK.
3.7. No event may run more than one support event of a different category concurrently. The additional event must follow the championship event.
A Division 2 event may not be the prime support event to a Division 1 event, unless approved by the control panel. This does not prohibit organisers from promoting further events outside the main championship and support event time frame, or on alternative days.
3.8. The Group believes that fewer Association Championships will result in stronger championships. The Group applaud the initiative taken by Central Southern and South East Associations in merging together their stage championships. It is recommended that adjoining associations consider combining to promote fewer, but stronger, championships.
3.9. A manufacturer wishing to run a championship must apply to the Control Panel with specifications of cars, driver experience and target audience to agree the level at which the championship should be promoted.
4. DIVISION 1
4.1. It is believed vital to have a British championship, however discussions with many drivers and organisers showed that only a finite number of drivers want to do the Championship in its present form. That number is not enough to sustain the series. We were repeatedly told that too much effort has been put into ‘marketing` with the emphasis on TV, city centre starts, special spectator stages and so on. The costs of these activities have fallen onto competitors, many of who see little benefit in them. These activities should not be considered unless there is sufficient marketing income to adequately fund them.
4.2. We recommend that the Division 1 Championship should be a mixture of 1 and 2 day rallies with a recommended daily competitive mileage of 75 miles. We believe these events should be selected from current BRC and ANCRO rounds, or any other event wishing to apply for consideration.
4.3. Division 1 events must include FIA classes.
4.4. Reconnaissance is optional but mandatory where FIA Regulations require.
5. DIVISION 2.
5.1. Vehicles: Eligibility as per K.37. MSA General Regulations.
5.2. All Division 2 events will run to National A permit – please refer item 7.
5.3. MSA Gravel Championship. 1 day events. Recommended up to 65 competitive miles.
5.4. MSA Asphalt Championship. 1 or 2 day events – mileage dependent on location.
5.5. MSA Historic Championship. 1 day events. Recommended mileage, gravel up to 45 competitive miles, asphalt up to 65 competitive miles.
We believe the above Championships should be selected from events currently in ABIRO, ANCRO, BT&RDA, TARMACADAM and SCOTTISH Championships, or any other wishing to apply for consideration.
5.6. MSA Scottish Championship. 1 day events. Recommended up to 65 competitive miles.
6. DIVISION 3.
6.1. All Regional Association Championships and all other championships approved
by the MSA.
6.2. Vehicles. Class structure as per K.37.1 MSA regulations.
7. 2005 APPLICATIONS
Applications for running championships in Division 1 and 2 must be considered by the MSA Rally Championship Control Panel, having received the appropriate documents from Championship organisers. The Group recommends that for championships proposed for 2005, declarations of interest by championship organisers should be made to the MSA by December 31st 2003. This will enable events to be observed by the MSA during 2004, using criteria contained within the FIA regional observation procedures. It is recommended that MSA titled championships be given a 3 year approval.
Applications for championships in division 3 must be submitted to the MSA in the normal way. The MSA must take into consideration prior to approval, whether they conflict with the aims and purposes of the new championship structure for 2005 and onwards.
For these proposals to be satisfactorily implemented, the Rally Championship Steering Group and the Rally Championship Control Panel must facilitate dialogue between interested parties to ensure that a satisfactory conclusion is reached. Consensus must be achieved.
If rallying is to have a healthy future, then it needs a simpler structure and stronger championships. The Group believes that the proposals outlined would help achieve this.
Finally, the Group would like to thank the many drivers and organisers who submitted ideas and gave so freely of their time to discuss the issues.