This year’s Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally, which was scheduled to take place over the Otterburn military ranges on Sunday 27 September, has been cancelled.
That’s the bad news – but the very good news is that event organisers Whickham & District Motor Club and Hadrian Motorsports Club will use this extra time to plan for the inclusion of closed public road stages in the 2021 event.
In recent years the Northumberland event has hosted the final round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship. It’s produced some thrilling battles, and none closer and more exciting than the one last year.
Jason Pritchard and Damian Cole arrived in Otterburn locked in a head-to-head battle for the Protyre Asphalt title – but when Alan Kirkaldy scored a dramatic event win in his Ford Fiesta R5, this gave third-placed finisher Pritchard the title by just one point, despite finishing behind second-placed Cole on the event!
Adding sections of closed public roads to the network of technical and twisty military roads will make the Cheviot even more of a challenge for Britain’s top asphalt crews – and even more unpredictable and electrifying!
The full statement, issued by the Cheviot Stages Rally organisers, reads:
‘Whickham & District Motor Club Ltd and Hadrian Motorsports Club Ltd, joint organisers of the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally, regret to announce that following a meeting of the organising team, the decision has been taken to cancel this year’s event due to the continued uncertainties surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. The event was scheduled to take place on the Otterburn Military Ranges on the 27th September 2020.
Whilst the guidance recently issued by Motorsport UK for restarting rallying has been welcomed, the challenges in adhering to the social distancing requirements and the current uncertainties regarding the timetable for the easing of these requirements has made it extremely difficult for the organisers to progress planning for the event.
With access to the ranges not available until late July at the earliest, this has also delayed the organisers being able to progress liaison with the tenant farmers, route checking and the development of the road book and other documentation.
The health and wellbeing of the local residents, the competitors and volunteer officials has also been a major consideration in reaching this decision.
The organisers are bitterly disappointed that they cannot offer competitors an event this year on one of the most challenging venues in the country and offer their thanks to their sponsor Ford Parts Ltd, the visiting championships, the competitors and all volunteer marshals and officials for their continuing support of the event.
The rally will return in the autumn of 2021 and the organising team will use the additional time available now to progress their plans to include closed public road stages in the 2021 event.’