The Rally of the Lakes format is ideally suited for inclusion in the World Rally Championship according to John Brown, one of the world's best known professional rally organisers. Brown, twice winner of the Circuit of Ireland Rally with Russell...
The Rally of the Lakes format is ideally suited for inclusion in the World Rally Championship according to John Brown, one of the world's best known professional rally organisers.
Brown, twice winner of the Circuit of Ireland Rally with Russell Brookes and winner of dozens of International rallies in a career that spanned almost 30 years of competing at the top level, was speaking at the launch of the 2003 Ordnance Survey Ireland Rally of the Lakes in the Conrad Hotel Dublin this week.
"The whole concept of how a rally qualifies for inclusion in the world championship has undergone a radical change in recent years. Gone are the days when an event had to progress through the European Championship, starting at the lowest co-efficient and ultimately reaching co-efficient 20 before applying for inclusion in the World series. Nowadays what the World Rally Championship organisers are looking for is a well established event, based in an area which has a good hotel and access infrastructure, with good stages within a reasonable radius of the base town. The Killarney Rally of the Lakes meets and exceeds all these criteria and its format was established long before the present trend in World Championship became the norm. In fact, what the Rally of the Lakes has been for several years, is exactly what all World Championship rounds would like to be."
Addressing his remarks directly to Arts, Tourism and Sports Minister, Mr. John O'Donoghue, who had spoken at the launch, Brown pointed out that while promoting a round of the World Championship would require government support, this did not automatically mean that large cash grants would be required. Political goodwill and political influence in the areas where vital decisions are made are far more valuable in achieving World Championship status, since there are several other sources from which funding can be secured.
John Brown was for many years manager of the Heart of England Tourist Board and as such has a unique insight into the tourism value of events such as major rallies. He currently heads up his own company, HERO (Historic Endurance Rally Organisers) which organises long distance rallies for Classic and Historic Cars throughout the world. He is at present finalising details of a major event which will take place in China in September and has been in Ireland for the past few days doing preparatory work for a week long Classic Tour of Ireland, which is being planned for April, 2004.
It was John who, during the 1978 Circuit of Ireland in Killarney, suggested to the then newly formed Killarney & District Motor Club, that it was in an ideal position to organise an event which could one day be a World Championship Rally. From that initial meeting the Rally of the Lakes was born and has since grown to be one of the most successful and popular events in Europe.
John Brown firmly believes that if the opportunity grasped and if the political goodwill is there, the Rally of the Lakes could join the World Championship within the next five years.