A New Year Message from the President of Motorsport Ireland
What a year 2020 has been, it has without a doubt been the most challenging year that most of us will have seen in our lifetime.
Motorsport was on a steady journey with an intact safety record when Covid-19 put a huge damper on everything, as you cannot continue to build a good safety record if there are no events. We have developed a positive relationship with our insurance broker, MIS Insurance and our public liability provider, Allianz over the past 2 years. and we were able to agree with them a package that would allow us to restart even in a small way. I sympathise with the clubs that lost events with short notice, but especially Cork Motor Club who had to cancel the West Cork Rally literally hours before it was due to start with many competitors already in Clonakilty. I also feel for Carrick on Suir Motor Club who decided not to run their event when we went into Level 3, just days before it was due to begin. Both Wexford Motor Club and Killarney and District Motor Club were well down the planning route for two other rallies but unfortunately the national situation overcame both and they fell by the wayside also.
Back in the summer when it looked like we were on a return to some level of normality, an industrious group under the leadership of Vice-President Aiden Harper produced a very comprehensive protocol document as a tool to allow us to restart. This item, as was said at the time, is a “living” dynamic document and has seen many updates since and continues to evolve. Further event-specific documentation was produced as we continued the return to motorsport journey, with Mondello Park also implementing excellent protocols which meant that we could run several event types at the venue. Clubs working with all these guidelines were able to successfully run autocross events at several gated venues, and I thank everyone involved for the important contribution.
Throughout all this time without motorsport, many of our Commissions have been working diligently in preparation for when we are “back in business” and none more so than the Volunteers and Officials Commission who are developing plans to streamline many aspects of officiating as a motorsport volunteer, and of course, developing comprehensive training programs.
Unfortunately, we lost a good friend and huge supporter of Irish motorsport when John Campion sadly passed away in early October. John championed the Team Ireland project as well as personally supporting many of our sporting talents. Team Ireland continues to grow and is a hugely successful program which has catapulted the Motorsport Ireland brand onto the international stage. John Coyne is a very generous benefactor towards this and maintains a keen interest in every one of the crews as they compete across Europe. Sean McHugh of course is the person spearheading this project and his energy and enthusiasm is a force to be reckoned with. I extend a heartfelt thank you to Sean on behalf of everyone in the sport and especially the young competitors who he has brought on this journey.
I said to you last year that our sport is a chain made up of many links and any chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This has never been more important for Irish motorsport as we try to restart our various disciplines for 2021. For some clubs, it has been a long time since they organised and ran an event, and for some competitors, it has been a long time since they competed, so I understand that there will be challenges, but we can deal with these challenges together.
As I said last year, and it is still relevant, please support and RESPECT each other as “TOGETHER WE CAN” but if we divide then we greatly reduce the chances of success which we all want.
I wish each one of you a safe and hopefully “normal” year in 2021.
President, Motorsport Ireland