A rally championship unique to South Africa could be forced to close down through lack of sponsorship. Total South Africa has withdrawn backing for the Blind Navigators Rally Championship, and the series may be forced to close down. The ...
A rally championship unique to South Africa could be forced to close down through lack of sponsorship.
Total South Africa has withdrawn backing for the Blind Navigators Rally Championship, and the series may be forced to close down. The rallies started in Bloemfontein 30 years ago, and South Africa is the only country in the world to run these events.
The championship is organised under the auspices of the Blind Navigators Rally Club and the Transvaal Motorcycle and Car Club, and has enjoyed official Motorsport South Africa championship status for many years. The championship is made up of four events in Gauteng organised by the TMCC, and a Bloemfontein event run by the Bloemfontein branch of the Sports Car Club of South Africa.
TMCC involvement with these events started when club stalwarts Steve and Monica Solomon were asked to organise rally events for blind navigators. At this stage activity was confined to treasure hunts organised by the Lions Club.
The Solomons, with Steve a former chairman of Motorsport SA, formed the Blind Navigators Rally Club with the series given regional championship status. Events are run on a sealed odo basis, and over the years the championship has emerged as one of the most popular in South Africa.
A number of top motorsport personalities - from all categories of SA competition - offer their services as drivers and, in a departure from the norm, Motorsport SA waive a championship naming rights fee. The withdrawal of Total's sponsorship, however, has left the series with an uncertain future.
"It would be a tragedy if the championship is allowed to become a memory," said Solomon. "Apart from the fact it is the only championship of its kind in the world, the Blind Navigators Rally Championship provides an outlet for disabled people who are passionate about the sport.
"The championship is run on a budget of less than R50 000 a year, and has brought a lot of pleasure to a great many people down the years. We cannot allow the championship to die, and the TMCC and BRNC are desperate to find a replacement for Total."