2011-Forwards or Backwards?

At this time of year, most people look forward to the year ahead with anticipation of good things to come. Everyone would like to think the year ahead will be better than previous ones, but in the present climate, how confident can we be?

In some cases, there are great prospects. Craig Breen, Kris Meeke, Robert Barrable, Alastair Fisher and hopefully Keith Cronin all seem to have this years plan in place, and will certainly give us a reason to keep an eye on the international scene.

But nearer to home, especially on the clubman scene, times are tough. Last year saw a lot of events having to be cancelled due to a lack of entries. Established Rallies, Hillclimbs and Sprints in particular were casualties as the full effect of the current recession began to show. And to be honest, the coming season shows no signs of an improvement, indeed if anything it has all the signs of being worse than last year.

However, clubs and competitors may have to re-evaluate how best to address this situation and a return to the smaller events might just be the order of the day. Just last Saturday, the first day of 2011, the Trial Drivers Club ran a production car trial in Mondello Park over 4 different tests, run 3 times. Unlike the standard autotest which can be very technical and intimidating, particularly for beginners, this new event involved forward motion only somewhat similar to the auto solo’s run in Tralee, and involved no reversing, with a simple to follow route. Standard road going cars only were permitted, and the event seemed to put the rear wheel drive cars, which were an absolute joy to watch, on a level playing field with the front wheel drive cars. Some will argue that was not the case, but the results speak for themselves when you see 1st, 2nd & 3rd overall were all rear wheel drive.

The fact that there were 61 entries which included competitors from autotests, sprints, racing, rallying and autocross just proves how attractive the €60 entry fee was, and the interest in this type of event. Another similar event is planned for the 30th of this month and is worth attending to spectate as much as to compete.

On the politics side of the sport, at least the year started a lot quieter than last year, when the Rallies Committee held all branches of the sport to ransom and the Christmas break had to be interrupted to justify their importance.

As a result, the Way Forward Committee was set up, and they spent the year going backwards, resulting in the Way Forward Document being tore up and a return to the drawing board. Yet more meetings were called to talk about organising more meetings and an extension of  the Way Forward Committee to include members from all disciplines of the sport. Hopefully the Way Forward can be found this year, heaven knows there is enough problems trying to run events in the current climate without adding another one to the administration side of the sport.

As the heading asks;     2011   Forwards or Backwards?

The Trial Drivers Club have certainly got that one right!

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Trial Drivers Club  Mondello Park 1st January 2011 Results.

1st Overall: Ronnie Griffin         BMW 2002 Alpina    1148 seconds.

2nd Overall: Pat Lee                    Ford Escort MK11    1150 seconds.

3rd Overall: Christopher Evans   Ford Escort MK1      1162 seconds.

Next event Sunday 30th January.

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What’s Happening Where?

2011

8th January. Motor Enthusiasts Club Kilkenny Cup Sporting Trial, Russelstown, Nr. Blessington, Co. Wicklow. 11am  Contact; Dawn Popham  085 7146732.

9th January. Midland Motor Club. Autotest  at Mastertech Business Park, Athlone Road, Longford. 11am. Contact; Chris  086 8847019.

9th January. Irish Karting Club Kart Race Meeting  at White River Park, Collon, Co. Louth. Contact;  Caroline Cruise  087 9295968.