Motorsport Ireland (MI) chief executive Alex Sinclair has described this week’s meeting with rally competitors in Athlone as “something positive” as officials seek solutions to a number of problems facing the sport.
The issue of insurance was the biggest talking point and Sinclaire is encouraged by the number of people striving to resolve the issue. “The temporary fix is more to secure the long-term solution,” said Sinclair. “We are in the process of revamping what clubs have to do in order to gain a permit to run a rally.”
There was support from many in the attendance for some form of a charge (€200) to be implemented later in the season to put together what Sinclair described as a “war chest” that will leave the governing body in a more comfortable position going into next season.
Currently, MI has a contract with their insurers for two years – ending next year. During the meeting former triple national champion Niall Maguire suggested that the sport must address on the use of tyres while he urged rally organisers (for the next few years at least) to reduce the length of events to 90 kilometres per day, both measures are to reduce costs. The Monaghan man reckons that even if the cost of entry fees drop next year or the year after, it will be too late as some competitors are beginning to sell their cars and are quitting the sport.
Meanwhile, Declan Boyle (Fiesta WRC) and Garry Jennings (Subaru WRC) headline Sunday’s Hotel Kilmore Cavan Rally. Both are in shakedown mode for more serious tasks ahead with Boyle’s immediate task being next week’s Circuit of Munster, round four of the Triton series as he tries to chase down series leader Sam Moffett. The Donegal man also has his sights on his home International event in some three weeks time and that has attracted some 190 crews in the main event.
Jennings is using Cavan to check out his Subaru for Donegal and reckons it may take a few stages to get on the pace. Although seeded at three Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) is a non-starter. Local driver Gary Kiernan (Ford Escort) spearheads the two-wheel drive entry and Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi EvoX) is the leading light in Group N. The first of the day’s nine stages starts at 10.30am.
Denied victory by a post race penalty in the last round of the British GT Championship, Cork’s Matt Griffin is targeting a pair of podium finishes in Sunday’s fourth and fifth rounds of the series at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk.
Motorsport Ireland has announced Donegal’s Kevin Eves (25) as the March/April bi-monthly nominee for the Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver award following outright wins in the National section of the West Cork Rally and the Rally of the Lakes in Killarney.
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