Spectator Safety – The future of rallying is in your hands
Sounds a bit over the top; a bit over dramatic; a bit panicky. Well please be assured, it is none of the above; it is very serious. This great sport is under the safety spotlight like never before, we are being observed and we are being judged; we have to improve the way we do things and here is the reason why.
Following the tragic accidents of the last several years, in which four members of the public very sadly lost their lives, we have been tasked to improve spectator safety. We have a very short time to do this or the powers that be, will shut the sport down. If you do not believe me, go to www.jaggybunnet.co.uk and read what a leading motorsport journalist has to say. It is very serious and everyone has to pay attention and play their part.
For many years experienced spectators have basically gone wherever they like on the stages, in the belief this will gain them the best viewing. Sorry, but that has to change. As organisers we have had to look at our stages, we have had to make decisions based on many years of experience, where we can recommend the safest possible spectator viewing points. This year we have at least one, (some more than one) of these viewing areas on each of our stages. They are large areas; you can see the cars from many different vantage points in each area; there is plenty of parking and an easy walk to the stage. Please use these areas, if you choose to ignore this advice it could lead to the stage or indeed the rally being cancelled. You have been warned.
You should also be aware that some of our ‘safety cars’ and the competing cars are equipped with on-board cameras. These cameras will be used to identify spectators standing in dangerous areas. If you do choose to ignore the advice given above you will more than likely come across one of these signs. We are using over a hundred this year. It is very simple; if you are in an area where this sign is displayed, you should not be there; you are risking your own life and putting the event at risk of being cancelled.
If that happens we will happily inform the competitors and people standing in the correct places, that it was “YOU” standing in the wrong place that caused the trouble. Please believe us, we will name and shame.
Please come and enjoy the rally; it would not exist without you the spectator; but please be sensible, use the spectator areas provided, and have an enjoyable but above all a safe day at the Pirelli International Rally.
Finally, if you have a few minutes to spare have a look at these safety videos produced for Wales Rally GB and the Mull Rally: