Having been weaned on the MCC classic trials I personally have as much sympathy as does your January editorial with the problems facing these events in the world today. On the other hand the RAC does have to adminster the laws of 1977 and no-one to my knowledge has yet produced any really compelling reason as to why these events should be given more favourable treatment than a special stage rally. Both in effect use the highway to proceed from observed section to observed section; both impose It similar work load on the authorising agency and practical experience suggests that both can he equally annoying to some local residents despite the plus factor from both of the pleasure given to spectators.
It is not appropriate to comment on behalf of the RAC as to the need for official control of motor sporting events on the public highway, Parliament has decided that control is necessary and the RAC is pleased to exercise that control in as sympathetic a way as the law allows. When control was instituted assurance was given to Parliament that it would be self-financing. In practice there has been an annual deficit as between receipts and the cost of the RAC’s work. This has been met out of public funds and obviously the costs have been carefully scrutinised by the Ministry concerned. The recent steep increase in fees was the minimum needed to produce a balance. When the Motor Rallies Advisory Committee considered the way in which ,increased fees should be applied the RAC was among those who supported the idea of relating the fees to distance and the number of competitors. It is true to claim that as the MCC has several hundred competitors the authorisation fee may be as much as £1,000, but at the same time the charge per competitor will be exactly the same as for a rally of a similar distance. Many younger motoring clubs who concentrate their activities ors rallying might be equally vociferous if the MCC wore to he given favoured treatment.
If any political campaigning is needed it would be better directed at the extent of control and the setting up of separate agencies as is now happening in Scotland and which will inevitably increase overall costs.
RAC Motor Sport D. H. DELAMONT
Division, London SW1 Director