Cork Motor Club forced to cancel Jim Walsh Forest Rally

The event, which is usually based in Mallow, was due to take place in August
Cork Motor Club forced to cancel Jim Walsh Forest Rally

Ballyvourney's Gerard Lucey and co-driver JJ Cremin (Mitsubishi) finished fifth overall in the Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally, round four of the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship in 2017. Picture: Martin Walsh.

THE Cork Motor Club, organisers of the Jim Walsh Forest Rally, one of the most popular events of its type, have cancelled the event due to what they claim is the “continuing uncertainty around the actions of Motorsport Ireland.” 

The move comes at a time when some ten clubs are still awaiting correspondence from the governing body on a motion of no confidence in their governance of the sport. The Jim Walsh Forest Rally, which is usually based in Mallow, was due to take place on August 22. 

A document issued by the Motorsport Ireland in relation to the format of rallies and the scale of entry fees during the pandemic has prevented clubs from setting their own entry fees, a practice that is normally within the remit of the organising club. The Cork club state that their ethos is based “on doing the best for car 1 to car 151” and as such, they felt they could not go against such principles. They reckoned that they could have run the rally with a lesser entry fee to that imposed by MI’s new rules.

Clerk of the course Paul Casey said, “On one level this was a very difficult decision to make as we had already lost the 2020 rally, which was completely the right call, the way things panned out last year, but on another level it was a no brainer, as we must be seen to support the competitors - our customers and put on the best possible event for all and keep the cost to the minimum.” 

Meanwhile, Greg McCarthy, the vice-chairperson of the club and who is a former clerk of the course of the West Cork Rally added, "We cannot expect to charge our customers these fees set out by Motorsport Ireland and the Rallies Commission when we know well that we can budget our event for less money. 

We are not in the business of profiteering from our loyal competitors and are disappointed it has come to this, but we feel at this time it is the right decision." 

Ironically, a recent statement from MI allows clubs to increase entry fees but no reference was made to a reduction of fees.

Cork Motor Club along with the three other County Cork Clubs - the Munster Car Club, the Skibbereen and District Car Club and the Imokilly Motor Club along with the Killarney & District Motor Club, the Kerry Motor Club, Limerick Motor Club, Clare Motor Club, the Birr and District Motor Club and the Dublin based Aer Lingus Motor Club were all involved in the motion of no confidence. Club delegates subsequently attended meetings in Dublin with a five person committee, but as yet and some five weeks later, they await the outcome.

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