Rallying in the United Kingdom can now recommence following the successful return of circuit racing and autotests on the first weekend of July.
One of Motorsport UK’s responses to the UK’s coronavirus restrictions was that co-drivers were outlawed from competition to ensure social distancing, throwing rally event organizers a major curveball in trying to establish their events.
This rule has now been lifted, meaning events that haven’t already been canceled by COVID-19 can continue as planned, unobstructed by the UK’s governing body. However, that is provided a COVID-19 officer is appointed and that appropriate personal protective equipment requirements are met.
Spectator numbers are to be controlled however. Motorsport UK advises that organizers consider venues “where access may be secured and spectators either excluded or safely managed” and that they can only attend events if they are kept away from the “sporting bubble”.
Motorsport UK CEO Hugh Chambers said: “We were delighted with how our first weekend of motorsport went following the suspension of all permits. Upon visiting the various events it was clear members of our community were incredibly enthusiastic.
“Rallying had to follow at a later date, as we worked upon the relevant information and followed the latest government guidelines. Following the updates from the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), this has enabled us to work on similar procedures to accommodate both driver and co-driver in a vehicle.
“We have also put together information for event organizers, giving them time to implement appropriate measures and Motorsport UK is here to help support or clubs restart this popular discipline.”
Rallies expected to now go ahead include single-venue events like the Abingdon CAR-nival Stages in September and multi-venue examples such as October’s Jersey Rally.
Following the cancelation of the British, Irish Tarmac, Scottish, Welsh and British Historic Championships earlier this year, the UK national series – the BTRDA – is the only series still running in 2020.
Organizers are working towards a four-round schedule, with the Wydean and Nicky Grist Stages in October and November to compliment the Cambrian and Malcolm Wilson rallies that ran before lockdown.