Opinion: Oulton puts British Rally Championship on track Car News

Never before in history dating back to 1958 has a British Rally Championship event been held on a racetrack. Still, BRC 2021 kicked off at Oulton Park at the end of May.

Uniquely, this was a round of Britain’s first rally series that only took place within track limits, due to the pandemic. Typically, the BRC operates on the forest tracks of Wales and Northumberland, as well as closed roads in places such as the Scottish Borders, Isle of Man and Ulster.

Now, no one can claim that a 2.6 mile wide and smooth track looks like Hafren Forest or the Torr Head Coastal Road, and there are those in the sport who lament the use of circuits for rallying. ‘special stages. It is not a proper rally, they say – but a proper rally has been put to forced rest for 16 months.

These are not normal times and, more than any other branch of motorsport, the rally has been wiped out by Covid. Not since February 2020, there has been a major rally in the UK, and we will be well into the summer before the rally really picks up.

At the same time, the races are in full swing with busy paddocks and capped crowds.

The success of the Circuit Rally Championship shows that there is support for rallies like this, and the Neil Howard Stages, usually held at Oulton Park in November, have found a replacement slot on the Whit Monday holiday.

Faced with a decimated schedule for the first half of the year and no events until summer at best, the BRC made the bold decision to partner with the Neil Howard Stages. It was a brave move that sparked grunts from wool enthusiasts, but there were a lot of great ideas behind it.

Without racing at Oulton Park, the BRC wouldn’t start until mid-July at the earliest, and that wasn’t good news for the drivers, their sponsors or, most importantly, the thousands of people who win at least one game. of their life thanks to rallying.

In addition, a rally on a track is incredibly accessible for fans, supporters and sponsors. Instead of a remote forest or an equally remote section of a closed public road, this was an event that could be easily and fully observed by many.

As two spheres of rallying combined for the first time, the entry list was possibly the best ever in the UK, and the BRC entrance was full of young talent, as it should be. The pace was as hot as the beautiful summer weather, and the rally cars explored the limits of the Cheshire Park track and its access roads for a full 10 hours.

Admittedly, it was a less difficult event than one would expect for the BRC, but the competition was fierce. will it be repeated? Well, it was the result of extreme circumstances so there is no immediate plan to start over. But never say never.

Paul Laurent


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This notice was published: 2021-06-25 05:01:24

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