Rally fans in Ireland look set to have to wait until Autumn for closed-road and forestry action to resume. The last rally to take place in Ireland was in March 2020, 16 months ago.
A calendar released in May by Motorsport Ireland included reference non-gated events that started in July but cancellations and postponements have since hit the planned summer rallies.
Reference July and August dates for the Moonraker Forest Rally, Ravens Rock Rally, and Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally had brought some hope of Irish rallying’s return. While dual occupancy has been granted, clubs are still waiting on the go-ahead for non-gated events which also puts September’s Wexford Stages Rally in doubt.
Ger Seaman who is Clerk of the Course for the Moonraker Forest Rally’s confirmed its 31st July date was no longer feasible but still hoped to run the event this year.
“We await further guidance from Motorsport Ireland and protocol from the Health Service Executive and hope to run later in the year,” said Seaman.
“We are all anxious to get back to our sport however we have to work in conjunction with the government guidelines.
“As soon as it is safe to get the event running we will do everything within our power to run the rally.”
Wexford looks set to face a similar fate as it cannot apply for road closing orders until a date is confirmed by Motorsport Ireland. It’s original 5th September reference date is fast approaching the minimum lead-time required for sending road closure applications.
A silver lining for the southeast motor club was its first rallysprint which ran successfully last Sunday.
Meanwhile, Cork Motor Club has opted to cancel its Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally outright, citing Motorsport Ireland’s new formats and fees as not running in line with the club’s reputation of doing the best for car one to car 151.
In CMC’s statement, Vice Chairman Greg McCarthy said:
“We can’t expect to charge our customers these fees set out by Motorsport Ireland and the Rallies Commission when we know well that we can budget our event for less money.
“We are not in the business of profiteering from our loyal competitors and are disappointed it has come to this, but we feel at this time it is the right decision.”
I could say this all means Cork 20’s 19th September date is the next possible for rallying’s return. But with that, I get a sense of deja vu and as it seems each club has its own set of questions, I think we are best waiting until we get some definitive answers.
Photo courtesy of M-Sport