The following statement has been issued by the Somerset Stages…
The Organising Committee of the Somerset Stages Rally have decided to have a “Year Out” in 2018, which would have been our 40th running of the Somerset Stages Rally.
After considerable discussions we have reluctantly come to this decision. The factors creating this are mainly due to the very much reduced entry level for our 2017 Event. The reduced entry level trend is occurring generally across all gravel events for reasons well known by all concerned.
However, the organising costs are continuing to rise each year, jeopardising the financial side of the Rally.
This has created a considerable overall financial loss, which has seriously impacted our reserve funds from previous year’s Events. Also, we cannot see any signs of this situation improving in the near future, which would obviously impact entry levels in 2018.
This, together with some possible logistical restrictions on Stage usage in 2018, and some complications on public road closures for competitive use in the area. This will need to be resolved during the coming year, including arranging suitable insurance cover.
We are sure the businesses in the Minehead area and within the Exmoor National Park will be disappointed to hear this news, as they do support the Competitors and Organisers and we, and the Competitors, do generate a significant income into the local economy.
The Organising Team plan to return in 2019 with our 40th Anniversary Somerset Stages Rally, again using the Forestry Commission gravel roads, the Porlock Toll road, and a section of closed public road, if at all possible.
When the 2018 championships and rule changes have all been confirmed, we will announce our plans for 2019. In the meantime we would like to thank all those who have supported the event since its inception in 1977.
Howard West – Event Director
Jason Hayes – Clerk of the Course
PHOTO: The 2016 event winner Luke Francis / John H Roberts in their Evo9 – courtesy Gasmark Media.