Alex Sinclair voices concern over rallysprints

Despite the increasing popularity of rallysprints organised throughout the country by the Rallysport Association, the chief executive of Motorsport Ireland, Alex Sinclair, admitted they have no plans to counteract a development which is causing concern amongst MI affiliated clubs.

Alex Sinclair voices concern over rallysprints

Events organised by the RSA are attracting almost treble that of similar events organised by MI clubs.

Sinclair said: “I’m concerned at the risk, I believe that these cars would not meet our (MI) standards or at least the cars that are being allowed participate. I don’t believe that the personal safety equipment of the competitors is to our standards either. That’s my only concern.”

MI licence holders are amongst the competitors partaking in RSA events and while an MI ruling still exists preventing such participation, Sinclair says that the governing body has chosen not to apply the rule at this time. For RSA events, competition licences, log books, road legalities are not required and the Junior classes caters for 12 years+, entry fees vary from around €100 to €140.

Meanwhile, karting is another discipline where the RSA is also making huge inroads and also availing of tracks utilised by Motorsport Ireland. “Karting numbers are not what they used to be but its holding steady, it’s not to say that we are not concerned, of course we are. We need to be very careful how we go about this because there is an argument, which would say unlicensed events may well introduce somebody to a sport that they may go on to take up formally. There are two sides to this debate.”

The recent cancellation of next year’s ALMC Rally has brought to five the number of MI rallies that will not run in 2018 compared to last year’s calendar. “The financial burden placed on many organisers is enormous. It’s better we know now and face up to it,” said Sinclair, who is not expecting any further cancellations based on his declaration that all the affiliated clubs have paid 50% of their permit fees. However, the Irish Examiner understands at least two clubs have yet to pay the fees due (albeit by a postdated cheque) last month. One club is adamant that it will not make the payment.

An unfortunate clash of a Tarmac and National championship round on the same weekend is now unavoidable. The Easter Rally in Antrim goes ahead on April 6/7 while the Circuit of Kerry in Tralee is on April 8. The Kerry club sought a date change but it appears the Cork Motor Club objected to the selected date of March 25 — a week after the West Cork Rally.

Team Ireland’s most recent fundraising event in America has raised about €100,000 to support competitors to achieve their highest possible potential through the elite and talented driver programmes.

The drivers that qualify for next season are: Callum Devine, Jordan Dempsey, Josh Moffett, Cian Carey, James Roe, Charlie Eastwood, Kevin Eves, Johnny Treanor, John O’Sullivan, Jenna McCann, Brian Brady and a karter, yet to be announced. Andy O’Brien, Shane Kenneally and Gary McNamee, who are part of the current programme, will receive reduced programmes.

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