A qualifying round of the Motorsport Ireland National Navigation Trial Championship was suspended over the weekend due to the withdrawal of IRDS insurance cover. The move was initiated on Friday afternoon when organisers of the Cork 1000 Shakes Navigation Trial that was scheduled to go ahead on Saturday night, were instructed by Motorsport Ireland not to go ahead with the event.
The decision followed an incident at the Monaghan Navigation Trial the previous weekend where a competing crew were involved in an accident with a non-competing vehicle.
Subsequently, Motorsport Ireland were informed by their insurance broker that IRDS cover would not be provided for the Cork event or indeed similar events of the same discipline, leaving the governing body with no option only to inform the organisers, the Cork Motor Club, not to go ahead with their event.
While IRDS cover will not be provided for navigation trials until the investigation is completed, other disciplines of the sport are unaffected. There are fears at grassroots level that the sport of navigation trials is over. However, Motorsport Ireland president John Naylor has a different view.
An internal investigation is being carried out as we speak in relation to the Monaghan Trial, the future of navigation trials is not an issue. Yes, we may need to look at the sport but we will be saying to our insurers that we haven’t changed what we asked them to insure in the first place.
A meeting with the insurance broker is due to take place at Motorsport Ireland headquarters in Dublin today but Mr. Naylor stressed that the meeting was already planned prior to the Monaghan incident. “No, it’s not a reactive meeting, it was set up last month. We have two senior people doing an investigation (in relation to Monaghan) in order that we have factual information available for that meeting on Monday.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Naylor also stated that there was only one accident and not two on the Monaghan event. “Yes there was an accident but it was not as bad as the rumours had suggested.” Unlike many years ago there are now just five clubs involved in organising navigation trials - Monaghan, Cavan, Cork, Skibbereen and Midland, the future of such events should become clearer later today.
The World Rally Championship was launched at the Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham on Saturday. Cars and their 2019 liveries were unveiled by the competing crews, in addition each driver revealed his 2019 competition number - a new feature where drivers selected their individual permanent car and door numbers for the season. Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke, who will drive a Toyota Yaris WRC for the Toyota Gazoo Racing outfit selected the number five.
“There is nothing nostalgic with my choice. In fact I didn’t choose it. My four-year-old daughter did.”
The only full-time driver that didn’t participate was Sebastien Ogier, who retains the No. 1 reserved for the World Rally champion.
Meanwhile, details of the new Ferrari Challenge UK series were also announced at the AIS with the Ferrari 488 Challenge to race on four UK circuits. It’s the first time in the company’s history that it has created a one-make racing series dedicated for a single market apart from Italy that had a Ferrari Challenge Series until 2011. Following a request from Ferrari, Cork racer Matt Griffin will be connected with the management of the twenty five drivers that will be involved in the series that will race at Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Croft and Silverstone.