Motorsport Ireland president, Joe Corcoran is in no doubt that there are far too many events. Although the 2011 calendar is again packed with events from all spectrums of the sport, it is anticipated that the 2012 season will be better aligned and have some degree of latitude in terms of re-scheduling of events.
The cancellation of the Kenmare Historic Rally earlier this month highlights the plight of the governing body. The Killarney and District Motor Club subsequently re-applied to host the event on January 22, but, following objections, the event will not take place.
It appears that the status of the event as the opening round of the 2011 Historic Irish Tarmac Championship Rally presented a problem for the Galway Motor Club, organisers of the Galway International Rally, who are set to stage the second round of the Historic series as part of the Galway International, on the first weekend of February. The close proximity of the two events seems to have been the key issue. In addition, the January 22 date coincides with the “Marshal’s Day” in Mondello Park that is organised by the Irish Rally Competitors Association (IRCA) as a payback to the marshals of all the events in the country.
The cancellation of events, particularly in the last few weeks due to the weather conditions, has other consequences. Insurance premiums are based on a set number of events taking place although there is an in-built figure that allows for some cancellations, the loss of recent events is a cause for concern. With no income from the organising clubs, Motorsport Ireland will have to pick up the tab.
Meanwhile, MI are to be commended for deciding not to take any revenue from the Donegal Motor Club for their Mini Stage Rally. The Donegal organisers are now in a position to return most, if not all of the entry fee to competitors. The event was only cancelled after the competitors were allowed to have a “sighting run” over the two stages.
The Donegal club are listed to have four rallies in 2011, along with their premier events, the Donegal International and the Harvest Rally, they plan a forest rally and another mini stage rally. Although it appears that there is a strong pool of competitors, organising teams do not have the same luxury. One of the main concerns for the sport is that events are being organised by the same core of people and that is a huge challenge.
“We are expecting that we will lose some events in 2011,” said Joe Corcoran. “Although we have budgeted for that, there is no doubt we have to reduce the number of events in the calendar.”
The governing body should also look at the situation where events in both the National and Tarmac Rally Championship clash (the Jim Clark and Cavan Rally have clashed in recent times) especially as they issue the permit to the TROA, organisers of the Tarmac series.
Meanwhile, Motorsport Ireland nominees for the FIA mentoring programme, Robert Barrable (Dublin) and Daniel McKenna (Monaghan), were both unsuccessful in gaining places on the scheme. MI had a very tight timeline in forwarding their nominees. After flagging all concerned across their database, it appears the Motorsport Commission vetted five candidates before selecting Barrable and McKenna, who subsequently fell at the first hurdle despite both having a very detailed CV.
Cork drivers, Ian Stanley and Mark Dolphin will battle for the Jerry Murphy Tyres Munster Autocross Championship, which concludes with events on Sunday and Monday. The series has been hit by a flurry of cancellations with just five of the proposed ten rounds taking place leaving Stanley (Honda Civic) a mere two points ahead of Dolphin. Sunday’s penultimate round, organised by the Munster Car Club, takes place in Campbell’s Pit, in Clonakilty from 11am. The final round on Monday, hosted by the Cork Motor Club, is in Murphy’s Quarry, Ladysbridge.
Consistency is the key for the championship chasing duo, who have yet to record a victory. Outgoing champion Daniel Cronin won the first round, Joe Cullen took a brace of wins and James Lehane and James Lucey were the other round winners. Having lost five rounds, series organisers must decide how the overall results will be determined and whether bonus points will be added as originally planned.