2017 Circuit of Ireland cancelled amid funding doubts

Gambit

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How in hell can funding not be secured for a 2017 event after it being such a success over the past few years and growing each year?

Is it government funding that's dried up I'm guessing?
 

Cess

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On the RMS Blog: Just months after running one of the most successful events in the rally's history, promoter Bobby Willis has announced that the Circuit of Ireland will not return in 2017. The rally, which was backed extensively by the Northern Ireland Government, local councils and Tourism Northern Ireland cannot raise adequate resources to host the European Rally Championship or continue as a round of the British Rally Championship. (Read the Full Article Here)



Read the Entire Article Here
 

davecoupe

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How in hell can funding not be secured for a 2017 event after it being such a success over the past few years and growing each year?

Is it government funding that's dried up I'm guessing?

Im guessing that the uncertainty surrounding funding is due to it being indirectly funded by EU money. NI Tourist board etc all received EU money which will no longer be available if Brexit happens next year as planned.
 
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cormac81

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They should make it a cross border event again. More likely to get funding though saying that Brexit might throw a spanner in the works again.
 

Cess

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I'm a bit confused by all this. I've just read Sammy Hammill's piece in the Belfast Telegraph and the it seems pretty definite. No ERC/BRC event (Financial uncertainty drives Circuit of Ireland off road in 2017 - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk)

Bobby Willis said:
"Essentially we start shortly after the de-brief from the previous event and once we set the wheels in motion we are obliged to make financial commitments which have to be met whether the funding is in place or not," he explained

"We have been working hard with our key funders to plan ahead for 2017 but regrettably firm confirmation of the financial support package required has still not been agreed and it is now too late for us to plan the 2017 event correctly."

However, as Stormont hasn't agreed any sort of budget for 2017/18 and beyond, it's hard to see how any Government Department or Agency would have been in any sort of position to provide the cast iron funding guarantees that the event needed.

My hunch is that there's more to run and all's not lost. From those quotes, I don't think it was the case that the Circuit of Ireland wasn't offered funding. I suspect it was more along the lines of "nothing can be assured, yet."
 

Cess

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If the event can't put a package together to be part of the BRC, being part of the WRC is a mere pipe dream. It looks like the only viable financial backer for the Circuit in any form is the Government. So being a WRC round would require a substantial funding uplift. Where's that going to come from? There's no UK or Irish commercial sponsor willing to stump up the cash at present. Government funding isn't a bottomless pit. Who's going to miss out? Given the commitment to fund the Irish Open and British open, I suspect that's where the lion's share of event funding will go.

Secondly, what round would drop out? The MSA UK already has a round of the WRC in Rally Wales, which has a contract and funding until 2018. It's hard to see a way the Circuit of Ireland and a Wales Rally GB could co-exist. The FIA and the promoter aren't keen on more European rounds anyway and the championship has two existing tarmac rounds (Germany/France) and two mixed tarmac events (Monte Carlo/Spain).

WRC, the FIA and manufacturers are only looking towards the middle East and Asia. That's where the money is, that's where the teams and sponsors want to be and that's where F1, MotoGP, WTCC, WSBK have all gone to chase the cash.

Let's get it back to being a flagship event in the British and Irish calendar and go from there.
 

davecoupe

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As much as I'd love to see a WRC event here, I really can't see it happening any time soon.

To be honest, there is probably more chance of Donegal or Killarney hosting a round. Massive events, are currently self funding and under Motorsport Ireland jurisdiction instead of MSI. With added investment, they are more likely imo .... but they are nowhere near ready nor do they have near enough expertise or money to host a WRC round.
 

Cess

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The Eurosport coverage/exposure is a loss. But in reality, that series looks like a bit of a declining force. Kajto is a class act and there's decent talent in the junior section. The rest of the field is a bit thin and no-one has really committed to a full championship

I'm hopeful that BRC status will be retained and I think the funding story is not done yet.
 

swansty

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Lots of rumour and speculation! Funding has not "stopped" as such, it just cant be (for many reasons) confirmed in time for us, the organisers, to start organising the rally. Some has already started but when you reach the point of needing to make financial commitments and no money to make those commitments, unfortunately things have to stop. In the past we have taken risks and delayed decisions until very very late in the day when funding has been confirmed which has led the team to working long long hours to deliver the quality event that it was. Most of the team also work days jobs, have families etc and its just not sustainable to continue like this, especially as the event is bigger and bigger every year. No one is more disappointed than the organisers at this decision, that I can assure you of first hand. Over the past years the event has become one of the best rounds in the ERC, not just for drivers but the FIA "score" rallies on many parameters and we have continually scored highly. There are many new and exciting ideas in the pipeline and so hopefully we can get funding secured for 2018 and beyond and get planning for those.
 

Cess

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@swansty Was/ is there no prospect of bridging funding being put in place, to secure the event, pending new government budgets being agreed for 2017/18 - 2020/21?
 

swansty

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@Cess finding that funding is difficult and once found, who picks up the tab if the remaining funding doesn't come through? This has been the approach in the past years to a degree, combined with as I said above, not committing to certain things until money was there to pay for them. The risk with this approach is huge and increases as the rally grows. The go/no-go deadline and its extensions have passed so even if the money was made available today, the decision stands hence the press release.
 

chris_b

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The first of many brexit events to be canned. Investors are much more reluctant to be involved in many areas now and more will follow suit.
 
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