The opening round of the 2017 MSA British Rally Championship, the Mid Wales Stages Rally, has been cancelled by the local organising club as continued concerns over forestry costs cause uncertainty in Welsh rallying. TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk first reported the threat to forest rallies in Wales in April of 2016 and the situation has still not been clarified.
The issue lies with Natural Resources Wales who maintain the forestry blocks through which the rally stages run. With the exception of a few dedicated rally venues such as Sweet Lamb Rally Complex all the competitive action takes place on NRW maintained roads. Parking is also operated on NRW land.
With no agreement between the Motorsports Association and Natural Resources Wales, the organising committee of the Newtown and District Automobile Club have decided they have no choice but to cancel this years Mid Wales Stages Rally. The news broke in a statement released simultaneously on the Mid Wales Stages website and the club’s Facebook page which read:
“Following a meeting of Newtown & District Automobile Club Ltd’s committee, it was decided that, due to the current financial uncertainties of running a forest stage event, the difficult decision to cancel the Grooms Garage Mid-Wales Stages 2017 had to be made.”
The MSA British Rally Championship were unable to make comment when we contact their offices this afternoon but promised a statement would be released shortly. Unless the MSA BRC are able to find another suitable rally to begin their season, the 2017 championship will kick off with the Pirelli Carlisle International Rally in the Kielder Forest in April.