Thousands enjoy England’s first closed-road rally

Thousands of spectators enjoyed a successful Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton (22 April), the first closed-road event organised under new legislation in England.

Melvyn Evans and co-driver Sean Hayde made history by winning the inaugural event, organised by Chelmsford Motor Club and a team of 500 marshals and officials. Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg took second, while Kevin Proctor and Andrew Roughead completed the podium.

An estimated 3500 people visited the service areas in Clacton-on-Sea, while 2500 more witnessed the competitive action from the spectator areas.

David Richards CBE, MSA Chairman, said: "It was an historic day in Clacton with the first closed-road motor sport event in England and it couldn't have been a better start to this exciting new era. It was wonderful to see thousands of people enjoying the event, especially so many families and youngsters getting their first taste of motor sport. Congratulations to Chelmsford Motor club and the hundreds of volunteers who made it all happen. It bodes very well for the future."

Mick Skeels, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said: “Speaking to spectators around the start in Clacton there was a real buzz of excitement. Some were local residents, many not motor sport fans usually but who were keen to watch something different right on their doorstep. Helped by the brilliant weather, the whole rally is a wonderful advert for Tendring."

Tony Clements, Event Director, said: “Putting this event on has been a huge effort over several years. The feedback from our competitors and the local community makes this all worthwhile. My team’s been helped by a huge team of volunteers and the wider motor sport community, to whom I say the very biggest and most heartfelt, ‘thank you’.”

The victorious Evans added: “The rally was brilliant and to win the first one in England was special. The event ran like clockwork and the spectators were amazing. Hopefully it’s the start of a new era with more of the same to come.”

The new closed-road laws commenced on 10 April 2017, following a long campaign by the MSA and the motor sport community. Independent research commissioned by the MSA and conducted by the Sport Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University has shown that local communities across Britain could generate up to £40m of additional revenue by closing roads to host a limited number of motor sport events.