After what has been a hugely successful, and action packed inaugural season, last night saw me host the very first Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship Awards ceremony.
Late last year when the Championship kicked off with the Neil Howard Memorial Rally at Oulton Park, people were wondering two things;
Could a local motor club really pull off a high profile championship, and could race tracks provide the spectacle needed for true rally fans, as well as the casual observers?
I’m delighted to say it’s been a resounding YES on both counts, and if anything the championship has introduced the sport to new fans. Which is always good.
Myself and the rest of the Special Stage Team have been there to bring the series to television, and having won my first rally with Graham Coffey – together with proposing to my now wife, Victoria – at the Neil Howard Rally in 2012, the Championship and the people behind it are very special to me.
It’s no secret that the sport of rallying is in a difficult position right now, and that rally as we know it is changing. Race tracks could well end up being the only remotely affordable way to go clubman rallying.
If that is the case, with the effort, experience and passion of Darren and his team, the support of backers like Michelin, Coronado Controls, Motorsport News and MSVR, and the imagination of the race tracks in creating a varied challenge for drivers, the future of this part of the sport is in very good hands.
I’ll leave you with my video blog walk round from the ball room at Oulton Park, together with our Special Stage film, ‘New Gladiators’.