THE Cork Motor Club’s decision to cancel the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally (March 21/21) while being described as being difficult was also a “no brainer.”
The cancellation isn’t a surprise and the feeling locally in the award winning town is that safety transcends everything else.
Last year, the rally was cancelled just days before it was due to go ahead and this time around it is again the first major rally within the jurisdiction of Motorsport Ireland to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.
Commenting, Steve Davis, clerk of the course said, “On one level this was a very difficult decision to make as we had already lost the 2020 rally at the eleventh hour, which was completely the right call, after the way things panned out in March of last year.
"On another level, it was safety must always come first, both that of the volunteers and competitors, and more importantly that of the local West Cork community.
"We couldn't justify putting additional pressure on all the hard working overstretched HSE staff and other Public Health services to run the event."
The Cork Motor Club has a unique and extremely strong working relationship with the people of Clonakilty and in particular with the local West Cork Rally Committee.
Last year’s decision was a case in point as they withstood pressure from sources outside of the locality to run the rally.
The last rally to run under the MI banner was the Mayo Rally early last March.
Later, attempts were made to run the Wexford Rally but never got to fruition while the necessary road closing order was not granted for the Raven’s Rock Rally last October.
Chairman of the Cork Motor Club, Paul Casey said, "We can't expect local residents to allow the roads to be closed during this dreadful pandemic which is claiming lives daily. With the vaccination programme now in full swing hopefully 2022 will facilitate the smooth and safe running of the rally on March 19/20."
Event PRO Kevin O’Driscoll thanked the Clonakilty Park Hotel, the West Cork Rally Clonakilty Committee, Keohane Readymix, Jim Davis & Co. Ltd., Clonakilty Blackpudding, and Calor.
He paid tribute to all the volunteers, officials, competitors and supporters and urged everybody to "Stay safe, protect each other".
The Wastewater Solutions Circuit of Ireland Rally (April 2/3) has also been cancelled due to the ongoing concerns over Covid-19.
The 2022 event has been pencilled in for April 15/16.