Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally
Sunday 10th August 2003
MOTORSPORT IS DANGEROUS!
New Safety Regulations
- A variety of incidents over the past year have provided proof (if proof were ever needed), to remind us of the dangers inherent in our sport - danger for competitors obviously, but also danger for spectators and danger for officials. As a result, Motorsport Ireland (the sports governing body) set up a Safety Review Group to review safety in rallying. As a consequence of this review, recommendations were made and many of these recommendations are now incorporated into the regulations governing the sport.
One of the more visible changes is in the order and role of course cars. Up to now the procedure required the Motorsport Ireland Safety Officer to run just ahead of the Clerk of the Course, followed by a number of 00 cars. Under the new procedure, the organising club will appoint an Event Safety Officer who will proceed through the stage ahead of the Clerk of the Course. He/She will ensure that the stage is set-up in accordance with the event safety plan - no spectators in prohibited areas, escape roads etc., that the stage signage is correct and that all other safety measures are in place. The Event Safety Officer will be followed through the stage by the Clerk of the Course who, when satisfied, declares the stage ready for inspection by the Motorsport Ireland Safety Officer. It is then intended that the Motorsport Ireland Safety Officer drive through the stage and declare it fit or unfit to run the Motorsport Ireland Safety Officer will not stop to reposition spectators etc., as had been the practice, he/she will simply inspect the stage and make his/her recommendation to the Clerk of the Course.
The thinking behind this new procedure is to allow the MI Safety officer to inspect the stage closer to the arrival of the first competing car. If the stage is not set-up correctly, if all necessary safety measures are not in place or if spectators, TV Crew or Photographers are standing in prohibited areas, escape roads, walking on the road etc., the stage is not run.
The MI Safety Officer will be followed by two 0 cars. All of which will be in radio contact with the C.O.C. The 0 cars will not be counted down at the start of the stage and will not be timed through the stage or carry pace notes. Their function is to monitor spectator behaviour, and report any unsatisfactory locations to the C.O.C. who can then cancel the stage.
Having to cancel stages will not be to the satisfaction of any of the parties concerned -organising clubs spend months planning events, stage commanders spend hours setting up a stage, competitors spend sizeable amounts of time and money to compete on events and spectators come out to see the spectacle of rally cars driven at speed on closed roads. However, if rallying as we know it in this country is to survive, officials will have no choice but to cancel stages if they consider them unsafe.
Spectators are therefore requested to co-operate with marshals and officials as they carry out their duties - do not stand in prohibited areas, escape roads etc. or walk on the stage. Support marshals when they have a situation where some spectators are not co-operating with them -this will help to ensure that our sport can survive and hopefully prosper.
In Ireland, the sport is exceptionally fortunate in that public roads can be closed for the purpose of rallying - the result is that all corners of the country can enjoy the spectacle of the highest calibre of rally cars, being driven over some of the best stages in the world, by high calibre drivers. It is the responsibility of all involved - organisers, competitors and spectators to protect the future of this spectacle (which gives a major financial boost to the economy of many towns around the country), by working together to minimise the dangers and make our stages as safe as is practically possible.