2020 British Rally Championship Review

So far, just one round of the 2020 British Rally Championship has taken place with reigning champion Matt Edwards claiming the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally victory by 38.4 seconds from Osian Pryce/Noel O'Sullivan in second and Rhys Yates/James Morgan in third. This was the best possible start for double champion Edwards and set him up nicely for a hat-trick season in his latest M-Sport Mk2 Ford Fiesta R5 sponsored by Swift Caravans and new for this season, Yuasa batteries.

Next round of the championship was supposed to be the Clonikilty Park West Cork Rally 14-15th March but this fell exactly the time at which the Coronavirus crisis clicked-up to Severe, and as a result, the event was cancelled at the eleventh hour even though many competitors and fans had already assembled in and around the rally's base in Clonikilty.

Following the formal declaration of Lockdown together with Motorsport UK's withdrawal of all event permits until 30th June, the Tendring & Clacton club's Corbeau Seats rally 25-26th April was also cancelled and at the time of writing, the decision has just been taken to postpone round 3, the Renties Ypres Rally 25-27th June, possibly to later in the year. In the meantime, organizers announced that the Today's Ulster Rally 21-22nd August is postponed until 2021 to protect the health of spectators, competitors, and officials. The final round of the series is the Armstrong Galway Hills Rally 19th September, but no decision has been made regarding the future the 2020 edition yet.

When this all shakes out it means that if the Ypres and Galway Hills rallies run later this year, the championship with have at best three rounds, but there is always the backstop of Wales Rally GB being included as the 2020 series finale. Some have already said that the depleted championship should now be cancelled, as it is devalued by anything less than a 6-round championship, but for many the burning question remains, when is a championship not a championship in order to make it worthwhile to win?

Throughout the years, rallying has overcome all manner of adversities including foot & mouth disease, fuel shortages, wars, and political conflicts but championships won in these circumstances have been valued against the difficulties prevailing. COVID-19 is just the latest of these challenges from which rallying will recover, so as long as there are at least 3 events, why not just run the championship?

2020 BRC Championship Standings after one round
1st - Matt Edwards / Darren Garrod - 25
2nd - Osian Pryce / Noel O'Sullivan - 18
3rd - Rhys Yates / James Morgan - 15
4th - Ollie Mellors / Ian Windress - 14
5th - James Williams / Dai Roberts - 10
6th - Tom Cave / Dale Furniss - 8
7th - Tom Williams / Jamie Edwards - 6
8th - William Creighton / Liam Regan - 4
9th - Finlay Retson / Rhys Stoneman - 2
10th - David Kelly / Darragh Kelly - 1

29th May, 2020