The tragedy that occurred during the last edition of the Condroz-Huy rally gave rise to numerous debates that affect motorsport as a whole.
With that, the 2023 Condroz Rallye has been cancelled. Royal Motor Club de Huy had announced a two day approach to the 2023 event, after undertaking changes to the ill-fated 2022 event that was designed to improve spectator safety.
Gone were the night stages and there was a lot more control of the spectators. The problem was that rarely would the spectators listen to the marshals. In fairness, the marshals had an impossible task, with the event known as one great party. Sure it had a great atmosphere but the cultures of the past do not mix with modern day rally cars.
And despite the permits being granted, there was no satisfaction of safety, culture and an economically sustainable event.
Despite good fields last year, there was a noticeable downturn in entrants as many drivers liked the night stages and some of the legendary sections were forced to be abandoned.
As such, the organisers face a tough challenge – to honour the culture of the event, to make sure the spectators are safe and to get enough entrants to make the event worthwhile.
Sadly, at least for 2023, it is an impossible combination to balance. Years of limitless booze and almost a Group B spectator attitude won’t be reversed in a moment. Nor will the faith of the land owners in which the rally passes. The risks are too great. I cannot imagine the torment that the unfortunate crew have gone through this year after that fateful crash last year
Perhaps, then, it is best to skip a year. Or even two. It is better to work with the community and the entrants to find something that works for everyone. That honours the past and the contemporary pressures of rallying. Rushing it may only mean more people are put at risk and we might get a pale imitation of rallies of Condroz-past.
It would be a tremendous shame to lose the rally. We always had a sense of doom over the weekend simply because spectators don’t a survival instinct and it became acceptable to stand where ever. It would be bad for the Championship, for Huy and for rallying in general.
In the end, a lot of work needs to be done. I hope it is done as if the Condroz can find a balance, it might be a good template for rallies around the world to maintain spectator safety and not become dull and difficult to spectate, where people are just herded to one or two boring spectator points.
But where spectators can still seek that sense of adventure and the drivers can still find that thrill that makes rallying so great.
The RacerViews info
By Sam Tickell
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