Comment: Queensland cancellation a big problem for Australian rallying
- 3rd March 2017, 3:22am
The Australian Rally Championship is facing a huge challenge after the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) cancelled May’s International Rally of Queensland.
The championship’s longest running event, Rally Queensland was scheduled to run on May 27 and 28 as a round of the ARC, the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship and the local Queensland Rally Championship.
The rally was organised by the Brisbane Sporting Car Club from 1968 until 2015, before being taken over by CAMS in 2016, although with many of the rally’s long-term officials still involved.
After meetings last week, CAMS decided the event couldn’t meet many of the key performance indicators (KPIs)required to successfully run the rally, and made the difficult decision to cancel.
It is believed these KPIs included not being able to guarantee the number of international competitors involved to secure government funding.
However, the flow-on affect that the rally’s cancellation will have across the sport will be far reaching.
CAMS approved the budget to run the rally last December, and Adrian Coppin was recently appointed as Sporting and Business Development Manager, but that has now all come to nought.
The cancellation leaves the ARC, APRC and QRC with a round less in their championships, upsetting the plans (and budgets) of those who had already committed to entering the event, and throwing a real spanner in the works for APRC teams.
The APRC starts in New Zealand in April, with teams traditionally then travelling to Queensland in late May, and then heading into Asia for the remaining rounds of the series.
But with rumours already circulating that October’s National Capital Rally in Canberra will be Australia’s replacement APRC round, it will throw travel and freight plans into real turmoil.
Teams would need to travel from Japan in September to Canberra in October, before heading on to India for the final round in November.
And what next for the ARC? Will CAMS insert a replacement event into the series, or will they decide that five events are enough?
For Subaru, for Harry Bates’ Toyota-supported team, for the new Evans Motorsport Mini team, and for others committed to a five-round championship, it currently poses more questions than it answers.
Make no mistake; the death of the Rally of Queensland is a disaster for the Australian Rally Championship and for Australian rallying.
CAMS will need to quickly (and effectively) re-organise the deck chairs in order to get the ship sailing smoothly again … hopefully before too much damage has been done, and before it’s too late.
- Peter Whitten
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