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Motorsport fans ‘rally’ after WRC blow

Created on 18/01/2021 @ 10:13


Local motorsport fans have refused to be beaten by the World Rally Championship’s decision to leave Wales by creating a new event of their own.

The area’s hopes of a post-Covid economic shot-in-the-arm later this year was dashed last week when the WRC Promoter said it was pulling the plug on its British round, opting for Belgium instead.

It means that the usual week of packed hotels, bed & breakfasts, pubs and restaurants across north and mid Wales that the event brings won’t be happening for the first time in decades.

But a group of enthusiasts are in the planning stage of a new three-day event that could deliver some consolation.

“It is a real shame that the WRC won’t be happening as it does bring a big boost to the local economy, especially in the hospitality sector,” said Neil Rogers, Vice Chairman of That’s Motorsport. “But hopefully we can do something good for Welshpool and the surrounding area.”

He said that a new multi-stage Hill Rally, based in and around the town, is in the planning phase for 2022, possibly May, and would be held over three days from Friday-Sunday.

With an initial target of 60 entrants and the main event hubs of scutineering, parc ferme, service park and headquarters possibly based in or around the town, the event could provide a nice alternative for fans to get their annual fix.

“This may seem a long way off but there is a lot of work involved, especially in finding suitable stages,” said Neil, who lives on Middletown Hill. “I contacted the Mayor of Welshpool back in 2019 to see if was something the town council would back and support, and he was very supportive as he could see the benefits to the local community.

“Although not on anywhere near the same scale as Wales Rally GB, it will hopefully still be good for the locals.”

Hill Rallies were popular in Mid Wales previously, and mainly run out of Builth Wells in the 1990s, so a resurrection could prove popular.

The initial plan is for scrutineering to take place on a Friday morning and the first stages to run in the afternoon.

“The current thinking is we may try and run part of one of the Friday stages on a closed road section so it gives the competitors a complete mix of terrain, something which the French Toute Terrain Championship does,” Neil explained.

“This will depend on costs and obtaining a closure road order, of course. The cars would then go into Parc Ferme ready for the Saturday and Sunday stages.

“In terms of running the stages, we would run the production cars through first followed by the SSVs and finally the prototype cars/buggies.”

An event Facebook page has been launched -  ‘Welsh Borders Hill Rally 2022’ and will contain all the updates as they happen.


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