Every year in Italy an event is held called Rallye Legend. It is a short festival where rally cars, old and new, race against the clock in a celebration of sliding. We’ve found what we think is the ideal route.
Its 24.2 Miles and runs from Cromer to Holkham. Following the A149 it passes through West Runton, Sheringham, Weybourne, Cley, Blakeney, Morston, Stiffkey and Wells-next-to-the-Sea on its way to Holkham.
The road flows through towns and empty marshes. It has undulations, switch backs and flowing bends, all enticing to the driving enthusiast. It has all the ingredients of a good driving road, and importantly, a rally stage.
However it isn’t just because of the road that North Norfolk is the place to hold it. Because of all the small towns that it runs through, there is limitless possibility for local advertising and tourism promotion e.g. of Seal Trips from Blakeney and Morston.
The rally could quite literally make some noise for North Norfolk.
This would not only provide increased coverage for the local businesses but bring motorsport to a county that lists Lotus and Martin Brundle amongst its inhabitants.
It is also the county of Snetterton racing circuit and provided the first UK home for a young Ayrton Senna, just moving over from Brazil.
But, you’re thinking, aren’t there a few hurdles to overcome? Let’s run through them.
Question: What about the legislation?
Answer: Until recently the 1988 Road Traffic Act prevented closed road motorsport in the United Kingdom. However a couple of years ago the MSA (now Motorsport UK) was given powers that would allow it to suspend the Road Traffic Act for the purpose of motorsport. Its why the final stage of 2018 Wales Rally GB was run on public roads.
Question: Ok the legislation is fine, but what about traffic? The A149 is a very busy coast road, if you hold it in the summer you’ll clog up a major traffic channel.
Answer: This is why we propose a single day event with a diversion in place and warning, as well as advertisement, given long in advance of the occurrence of the event . As regards the season we would chose Autumn as the tourist season is dying down but the weather is still pleasant. That would be ideal.
Question: So what about access for ordinary people who need to deliver good or meet someone?
Answer: We would timetable in breaks in the cars coming to allow this to happen. Split the day into 4 quarters with hour breaks to allow traffic to pass through.
Question: What about safety? Cars travelling at high speeds on country lanes with no run offs for spectators.
Answer: As happens in other rallies we would hire official marshals and co-ordinate with organisers as regards spectator safety. Just look at the Monte Carlo or German rounds of the WRC.
Question: Do you think this would have public support?
Answer: You don’t know until you ask.
That is the very nub of it. I completely accept that a rally festival may not appeal to Norfolk. Yet, after the success of the London F1 Show and with the popularity of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship, rallying is rising in popularity in the UK.
I can imagine fewer nicer ways to spend an Autumn day than watching rally cars from over seventy years of racing through the quick right left past the Morston church wall.