If you thought that the entry fees for Australian rallies were too high, spare a thought for British competitors who are looking down the barrel of huge forestry increases in 2007.

A recent article in the English Motorsport News suggests that the Forestry Commission are considering increasing the hire rates for the use of forest roads under their control.

Under the suggested proposal, it will cost organizers a total of £528 (around $1350 Australian) to use each mile of forest road for the first pass, and an additional £313 (AUD$815) for a second use. In a typical 25 mile (40km) stage, organizers would be faced with a charge of £13,200 (AUD$34,300) for the privilege of using the roads.

However it seems that even those figures might not placate Forestry who are talking in terms of £1,000 ($2,600) per stage mile. Reconnaissance isn’t overlooked either, Forestry charging £17 ($44) per mile for the privilege of preparing your pacenotes prior to an event.

According to a spokesman for the Forestry Commission, the cost of maintaining forest roads is rapidly increasing and the fees charged do not cover the continuing maintenance and damage.

“We build our roads out of stone and they are there to serve forestry purposes,” said Forestry Commission motorsport co-ordinator, Stephen Buckley.

“Those roads are built to take 40 tonne trucks traveling at 20mph. To build that sort of road requires an investment of £30,000 per mile. If they are used for normal forest traffic they need replacing every 28 years. Using these roads for rallying means that this is brought down to 17 – 18 years. These roads were never designed for rallying,” he said.

So next time you complain about an increase in a rally entry fee, spare a thought for our British cousins who are slugged with these kinds of fees every time they enter a forest rally. Our entry fees pale into insignificance in comparison.

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