Cork 20 International Rally called off due to concerns over public health and future goodwill

Cork 20 International Rally called off due to concerns over public health and future goodwill
Draperstown’s Marty McCormack and co-driver Barney Mitchell gave the Volkswagen Polo GTi a winning Irish rallying debut on last year’s Cork 20 International Rally. Picture: Martin Walsh.

THE 2020 Cork 20 International Rally due to be held on September 26-27 would have been a highlight of the motorsport season. 

However, the backed event, organised by the Munster Car Club, has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Recent relaxations of Covid-19 restrictions in relation to travel and meetings allowed the board of directors of the Munster Car Club to convene a meeting to discuss the hosting and staging of the two-day event that is usually a counting round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and the Southern 4 series but both championships were stood down several weeks ago. 

In terms of the ITRC, only the Galway International Rally has taken place and it provided Fermanagh’s Alastair Fisher with his inaugural victory in a round of the series. The Clonakilty Park West Cork Rally fell victim to the Covid-19 restrictions just days before it was due to take place last March.

The decision to cancel the Cork 20 isn’t surprising as other events like the Galway Summer Rally (August 30) and the Clare Rally (September 13) have also been canned. 

Meanwhile, organisers of the Volkswagen Wexford Rally (September 5-6) are proceeding with their event.

The Echo understands that the directors of the Munster Car Club discussed all aspects involved in the running of the event and how it would cope with the many different situations not just posed by the Covid restrictions but also the long term future of the rally itself.

The Munster Club, like others that have cancelled events, want to ensure the continuation of the goodwill they receive from the residents along the rally route. In addition, they had concerns with how they were going to carry out PR in advance of the rally without placing any person at risk. 

Further to those concerns and indeed others that included the logistics and actual planning of the rally in the current time frame, it transpired that the only reasonable decision was to cancel the rally. 

Club chairperson Coleman Hegarty and clerk of the course Kevin O’Riordan thanked title sponsor and associate sponsors for their support and understanding of all the issues. The residents along the route of the rally, Cork County Council and the Gardaí, with whom the club engage on an annual basis, were also thanked.

Meanwhile, while discussions are ongoing with stakeholders, no decision has yet been taken on the Westlodge Hotel Fastnet Rally (October 25). Motorsport Ireland is due to meet representatives of its affiliated clubs shortly to discuss the remainder of the year. 

The motor racing season is due to begin in Mondello Park (behind closed doors) on the final weekend of July.

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