Rally Isle of Man is heading in the right direction

Published on Friday December 22 2017

Rally Isle of Man has made sweeping changes. Pic: Jakob Ebrey

Writing negative things and channelling less than positive reviews from competitors about this year’s Rally Isle of Man was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. 

Without getting teary-eyed and emotional, it’s the event that opened my eyes to rallying, with Patrick Snijers and his ‘forceful driving’ in 1988.

Some competitors had no issue with last year’s event, but some did, and the need for change, to me, was obvious after two consecutive years of multiple delays to stages.

Instead of getting caught up and getting into arguments with everyone about what happened, the event’s bosses have been silent since putting out a statement at the time. It has handled the situation with dignity. 

And the praise doesn’t stop there. Providing a clerk of the course for each championship should improve the communication between competitor and event which was inconsistent last year, and the addition of Neil Cross, a no-nonsense get things done kind of person, is a brilliant move.

The event has the benefit of the fact that it made a profit last year, and it’s pumping those profits back in. Instead of the many off-island organisers seeing stages for the first time on the event proper, many will be invited over beforehand to survey the route and to get some training. This is a fantastic move which should help the stages to run more smoothly.

Event was in profit this year, and is giving that back. Pic: Jakob Ebrey

The route using stages more than once is also fine, after all, they are some of the best asphalt roads close to the UK. It also means marshals won’t be traipsing around the island as far and will have to travel less frequently, which should also help. 

Condensing the event should allow it to run with less delays and lower the costs for competitors, as they won’t need to be on the island as long for recceing, especially the Irish. They can now come over on the Wednesday thanks to a new ferry deal. Given that the drivers on these events are businessmen paying to rally, less days away is vital and that should be achievable this year. 

And the merges, well I don’t think anyone will miss those. They were a good idea to increase mileage, but created far more problems than they solved. I know, I waited around on the roadside for rally cars for over an hour like every other fan. 

The event featured problems last year that were well documented, and perhaps the over-the-top response of some competitors was down to the fact that not a lot had changed from 2016 to 2017, where most of the same problems existed or new ones were found.

So this change of, well, it feels like everything, should go some way to righting the wrongs. After all, the event constantly offers up a thrilling battle on the stages. 

A hearty well done to John Gill and his team. Hopefully the proof is in the pudding and I look forward to returning to the island, if I’m still invited…

Recent news

Column

Are British championship calendars boring?

By Rob Ladbrook

Rallying News

Sainz Dakar quad incident penalty overturned

Dakar Rally leader Carlos Sainz has had his 10-minute penalty rescinded, after Peugeot presented...

Rallying News

WRC and Autosport Show working on 2018 public launch

The World Rally Championship launch could be moved to a public day of Autosport International...

Rallying News

Tanak says Ogier bias led to his M-Sport exit

Estonian star Ott Tanak says that being the number two driver to Sebastien Ogier at M-Sport...

Rallying News

Peterhansel wins stage, back to second overall

Peugeot's Stephane Peterhansel topped the 10th stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally, overhauling Toyota...

Rallying News

Ostberg still has Fiesta as back-up plan

Mads Ostberg could keep his private Ford Fiesta World Rally Car as a "back-up plan" if he cannot...

Racing News

Leading BWRDC figure Georgie Shaw dies

Georgie Shaw, one of the leading forces in the British Women Racing Drivers Club, died on Sunday...

Column

Rally Isle of Man is heading in the right direction

By Jack Benyon

Rallying News

Rider in Sainz incident threatens legal action

The quad rider involved in Carlos Sainz's Dakar Rally controversy has threatened criminal action...

Racing News

Kubica misses Williams F1 drive, lands testing role

Robert Kubica has lost out on a Williams Formula 1 drive this year to Russian Sergey Sirotkin,...

Rallying News

Tanak: Toyota 'best option' for WRC title shot

Ott Tanak says moving from M-Sport Ford to Toyota for the 2018 World Rally Championship was...

Rallying News

Dakar leader Sainz gets 10-minute penalty

Dakar Rally leader Carlos Sainz has been penalised for an alleged collision with quad racer...

Rallying News

Dakar leader Sainz under investigation

Dakar Rally leader Carlos Sainz is facing an investigation after a rider accused the Peugeot...

Racing News

Motorsport.tv to host entire Le Mans archive

Motorsport.tv is uploading the entire back catalogue of the 24 Hours of Le Mans to its exclusive...

Rallying News

Citroen WRC boss appointed FIA rally director

Former Citroen Racing World Rally Championship team principal Yves Matton has been confirmed...

Rallying News

Edwards gets factory M-Sport deal for BRC

British Rally Championship frontrunner Matt Edwards will return to the championship in 2018...

Racing News

Birmingham race evaluated by Formula E

Formula E has evaluated taking racing back to the streets of Birmingham for the first time since...

Rallying News

Peterhansel explains crash that cost him lead

Peugeot's Stephane Peterhansel was left "p**sed off" after the accident that took him out of...

Rallying News

Mikkelsen: Hyundai i20 reminds me of VW Polo

Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Andreas Mikkelsen says the manufacturer's i20 reminds...

Rallying News

M-Sport adds Suninen to 2018 WRC line-up

M-Sport has announced that Teemu Suninen will drive its third Ford Fiesta for the majority of...

Racing News

Autosport Show Highlights: Friday

Our team of national reporters pick their highlights from day two of the Autosport International...

Racing News

Button to race Jaguar XJR-9 at Le Mans classic

One-time Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button will drive a 1988 Jaguar XJR-9 prototype in...

1 2 3 40

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

X