We’re three rounds into the 2010 Australian Rally Championship season, and round four is just over a week away, with Rally South Australia ready to roll.
 
But half-way through the season, where is the championship at?
 

From an outsider’s viewpoint, it seems abundantly clear that the ARC is a struggling beast, and while the competition continues to provide good, close rallying, promotion of the championship is at, perhaps, an all time low.
 
Laying any blame is probably a pointless exercise, because without the support of manufacturers and a series sponsor, money is at a premium, which therefore means there’s little (if any) in the budget to push the championship in front of the media’s eyes.
 
But the ARC is certainly not doing itself any favours in terms of pumping up its own tyres.
 
A new website was launced at www.rally.com.au earlier this season, and while it has provided a breezy new look to the site, any news additions to the site appear to be press releases provided by individual teams and events.
 
A new Media Manager was appointed for 2010, but his input into the promotion and betterment of the championship is questionable. Indeed, aside from updates during the actual events, it appears that keeping fans up to date with ARC news between rallies is a very low priority.
 
Of course it all comes down to money, or in this case, the lack of it. However, it’s regularly said that you need to spend money to make it, and while not advocating that the ARC goes into debt, you would have to have quite a narrow focus to believe that no publicity at all is going to be of any benefit to the championship.
 
As a sport, rallying is by no means on its own in terms of lacking sponsors and publicity, but we need to be seen to be pushing our barrow forward at all costs, rather than sitting back and waiting for the next cashed-up manufacturer or sponsor to commit to a full season.
 
Surely it’s a pro-active attitude that will win favour with those companies who actually have money to spend in these difficult financial times.
 
As RallySport Magazine has said hundreds of times over the past 21 years, Australia has incredible rally drivers with talent to match anyone in the world, but without the right opportunities, they will never reach their goals.
 
For these drivers to progress, we need a vibrant and healthy Australian Rally Championship, and from our view, it appears we’re currently quite a long way from that. Indeed, there are at least two of the countries most promising young drivers who have decided that there's nothing in the ARC for them or their sponsors, and they've looked overseas for opportunities. And that's a sad state of affairs.
 
Here’s hoping that the remainder of the 2010 season sees a significant increase in both coverage and interest.

Photos courtesy of Dallas Dogger.

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