Belfast Telegraph

Opening round of British Rally Championship falls victim to cold weather

By Sammy Hamill

The snowstorms which wiped out all motorsport events at the weekend are starting to affect this week as well.

The opening round of the British Rally Championship in Scotland, scheduled for next Saturday, has been called off because organisers haven't been able to get access to the forests where the event was to be staged.

The Border Counties Rally, which would have seen up to a dozen Irish competitors taking part, was scheduled to be the start of the British series but the southern region of Scotland was particularly hard hit by the record snow falls and was the subject of a Red Alert weather warning.

Snowploughs would have been needed to gain access to the forests and clear the stages near Jedburgh but understandably they have been prioritised to clear public roads. They would not have been available until midweek at the earliest, leaving little time for the rally team to prepare the stages.

A statement at the weekend from the organisers said: "With a significant number of local roads still closed, continuing drifting snow and further snow forecast, organisers could not guarantee the safety and welfare of set-up crews, let alone event participants and marshals, leaving no other option but to postpone the event."

It follows the cancellation of the Malcolm Wilson Rally in the Lake District which a number of competitors including Ulster drivers Marty McCormack and William Creighton had planned to use as a warm-up before heading on to Scotland.

Off too was the Limerick Rally which should have seen Andrew Purcell and Josh Moffett continue their battle in the second round of the Irish Forestry Championship.

The prospects are brighter for two rallies scheduled for this side of the Irish Sea this coming weekend.

The McGrady Insurance Northern Ireland Championship begins at Bishopscourt on Saturday and the Mayo Rally, based on Achill Island, sees the start of the Triton Showers Irish National Championship on Sunday.

Both are expected to go ahead and have attracted strong entry lists including, at Bishopscourt, Derek McGarrity and Peadar Hurson. The Mayo Rally will see Garry Jennings and Donagh Kelly and Declan Boyle taking part.

Belfast Telegraph

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