The British Rally Championship won’t open with the Cambrian Rally in 2018, after a disagreement between the BRC and BTRDA Rally Series.
The BTRDA consulted its competitors on the recent DMACK Stages, and the result was overwhelmingly not in favour of having the BRC run as part of the event in 2018.
With running order on rallies now set on performance, it would mean the BTRDA would run further down the road as the pace of the BRC would likely have most of its cars in the top 30.
“We noticed with the Nicky Grist event last year that we lost competitors from the event,” said Steve Gregg of the BTRDA. “That’s a matter of opinion as to why. We had that in our mind when the approach came from the Cambrian.
“It’s a bit more complicated for this one because the Cambrian is the first round, we rely on it for registrations. If you don’t get them on the first round you may well have lost them for the rest of the year.
“There was a risk in our view that if the competitors didn’t turn up on that round, that we would lose them.”
The time constraints involved also put off the BTRDA organisers.
“We felt the timing was far too tight to do this for next year,” added Gregg. “We’re under pressure from the championship steering committee to have all our dates together for next Tuesday. We would prefer to look at it through 2018 when there is more time. Once we’ve looked at the circumstances next year we could look at doing this for 2019. The time scale we were working to we felt was too tight.”
The loss of the Mid Wales Stages at the start of this year means the BRC doesn’t have an obvious opening round.
The Border Counties rally opened this year’s championship, but that meant that this year’s BRC calendar had three rounds within 150 miles, with two events using Kielder and the Scottish Rally also not so far away.
Iain Campbell, BRC championship manager, said: “It’s dead, the Cambrian won’t be a round of the BRC next year.
“The BTRDA wrote a letter to the Cambrian, and said that the Cambrian needed to make a decision and if the BRC was going there, the BTRDA wouldn’t be.
“The DMACK Stages [last round of the BTRDA without any other connected major championships] had 77 entries, it needs a boost as well.
“Calendar-wise we’re still working on it. We can’t have three events within 100 miles of each other. We go Jedburgh, Carlisle, Dumfries and then to Belgium [for Ypres]. It’s frustrating.”
Spencer Sport BRC boss Charlie Jukes added: “That’s a shame it’s a good rally and the organisers have always done a really good job. And the council are behind it, that’s a real driving factor behind the event and what they want to do with it. You can’t have all the rallies in the same place.”
A BTRDA competitor, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “It all comes back to the running order. This wouldn’t be that big of an issue if you could group the championships together and they can go off and do different things. The BTRDA would benefit from the promotion of the BRC being in town, while the BTRDA could remain first on the road and the stars of their own show. It’s sad rallying is in this situation.
“There’s a lack of direction, which is part of the reason for these issues.”