Motorsport Direct Cup set to boost clubman series for 2004.
The Kumho Clubman Rally Championship has received a massive boost ahead of 2004, with the news that a brand new Motorsport Direct Cup will run within the ranks of the six round championship next season.
Promoted by Vauxhall and Proton specialist Motorsport Direct, the championship will be open to all versions of the Vauxhall Nova and Corsa brand, with sequential gearboxes not allowed. The new Cup will also feature a cash prize fund. Additional support comes from leading Vauxhall engine builders Martin Bowyer Developments, and Compomotive Motorsport Wheels.
The idea was the brainchild of Motorsport Direct proprietor Iain Shirlaw, a regular competitor in the Kumho Clubman Championship in a Proton Satria Kit Car and previously a Nova GSi. Iain had noticed that the National B series was being dominated by rear wheel drive cars, and wanted to encourage more front wheel drive cars to enter the ANCRO run series. Shirlaw had been impressed by the publicity from events, the high quality of organisation, and the strong camaraderie between competitors on the rallies, and the idea was born.
Regulations for the championship are being made as straightforward as possible, to encourage as many Nova and Corsa owners to give their machines a work out in some of the UK's most famous forest stages. The Cup will be open to front wheel drive cars, split into two classes - up to 1400cc and up to 1600cc. 8 valve and 16 valve Vauxhall engines are permitted along with the popular Suzuki 16v engine.
The organisers are keen to introduce a "spirit" of the regulations for the competitors to adhere to. Space framed or one off special conversions will not be deemed to be within the spirit of the championship, but no other restrictions (such as Perspex glass, fibreglass bonnets/boots) will be in place as long as the car holds an MSA logbook and is in a fit state to contest the rally.
"I think this has potential to be a very strong series next year. The Kumho Clubman Rally Championship is well organised, well promoted, and there is a great atmosphere amongst competitors on every rally. Also, I think that having six rounds is just the right amount. It helps to keep costs manageable and that is very important to clubman competitors. A maximum entry fee of £325 for a minimum of 45 stage miles is also very good value for money in the current rallying climate. Hopefully, a number of Nova and Corsa drivers will be drawn to the quality events and prize money on offer - and the quicker 1600cc drivers will certainly be featuring on the overall leaderboard within the Kumho series."
ANCRO Chairman John Trevethick was also delighted to be welcoming a new initiative into the Kumho Clubman Rally Championship:
"Once again, we're seeing that the KUMHO Championship is the place that competitors want to be for their rallying. With the prestigious Peugeot 206 Super Cup already signed up for the KUMHO National Rally Championship, I'm absolutely delighted that Iain Shirlaw has initiated this new idea for the Clubman series. I hope that the Motorsport Direct Cup will be a great success, and I'm confident that many competitors will support it."
Martin Bowyer of Martin Bowyer Developments welcomed the initiative, and was delighted to be supporting the new Cup:
"Too many young drivers cannot afford to step up to true one make rallying at the early stages of their careers - so with generous cash prizes on offer, this looks like a fantastic stepping stone for either young drivers or those wishing to step up from single venue rallying as an example. Motorsport Direct have built a strong reputation as experts in the field of both Nova's and Corsa's, so I'm sure that Iain and his team will make this a very close and competitive championship. I'm looking forward to supporting it!".
Further details and regulations for the Kumho Clubman Rally Championship will be available in the very near future. The calendar is:
<pre> Kall Kwik Rally 22nd February 2004. Vauxhall Astra Stages 3rd April 2004. Mutiny.com Rally 5th June 2004. Swansea Bay Clubman Rally 17th July 2004. Park Systems Rally 11th September 2004. Bulldog Clubman Rally 23rd October 2004.
The best FIVE scores will count, and competitors will be required to register for the Kumho Clubman Rally Championship, where they will be able to score overall and class points. There is no additonal registration fee for the Motorsport Direct Cup.