|The RCCP – made up of representatives from the organising clubs and the governing body – is responsible for scrutinising applications for permits for both new and existing championships.
A total of 116 applications have been given outline approval, of which seven have been asked to provide evidence of grid sizes from 2004. Five new series that officially expressed an interest in being awarded a championship permit for 2005 have been asked to submit full details of their proposed activity before the end of August.
"It was a very positive meeting," explains Colin Hilton, Chief Executive of the MSA and Chairman of the RCCP. "We have asked for more information from a number of applicants and we have set tight deadlines for this information to be returned to us. It was unanimously agreed that no exceptions will be made this year, either in terms of criteria or timing, as it creates uncertainty for all concerned. We tried to demonstrate some flexibility last year, but ultimately it made the situation worse, not better.
"It was widely anticipated that we would have significant issues with small entry numbers," continues Hilton. "However, having talked with the clubs it seems that the situation at club level is much stronger than perhaps many people realise. Financial considerations have already encouraged clubs to rationalise their grids and championship entries, and the RCCP has only had to ask for further information from a handful of applicants.
"Club race meetings do not come under the control of the RCCP, but during the meeting it was observed that, contrary to current opinion, there has been a noticeable improvement in 2004. It appears that the commercial considerations of organising clubs and venue owners have largely addressed the issue of small grids and numbers are actually very encouraging."
As well as evaluating each application against a strict set of performance criteria, the RCCP has to take additional factors into consideration, such as the local needs of organising clubs, when making its judgements.
"If the cancellation of a championship with low grids would effectively wipe out competitive motor sport in a region or at a particular circuit, it cannot be considered to be in the best interests of motor sport to decline the application. We have a duty to clubs, participants and venues to deliver the best possible solution for UK motor sport and I am confident that the RCCP is meeting this objective," concludes Hilton.
Full details of the 2005 championships will be confirmed in the Autumn.