2017 Circuit of Ireland cancelled amid funding doubts

19 Replies

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.

2017 Circuit of Ireland cancelled amid funding doubts

Willis said “To date we have had fantastic support from Councils across Northern Ireland, Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland, private sponsorship and the NI Executive.

But regrettably at this point in time the financial resources required to deliver the event are still not in place.  To run the Rally next year, in the current format, without the right resources and necessary planning period would be to do the Rally a gross disservice.  I believe we cannot risk proceeding with the 2017 event at this point without financial certainty.”

2017 Circuit of Ireland cancelled amid funding doubts

Other options for 2017 remain on the table, including continuing as a part of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and Northern Ireland Rally Championship.

“The decision not to run the Rally next year has been the most difficult one I have ever had to make. The Circuit of Ireland Rally has reached a level of success unimaginable only a few years ago, attracting an enviable international entry list and with opportunities for even more growth within our grasp.

For those reasons it is vital that the ‘Circuit of Ireland’ brand is protected for future generations.  Whilst other options for a small, local rally may be considered for next year, my plan is to take the time to work closely with our partners to secure the necessary resources and plan for the Circuit of Ireland Rally to return in 2018 with an even better event.”

2017 Circuit of Ireland cancelled amid funding doubts

The announcement is a major blow, as the event had reinvented itself in recent years, pulling in competitors, spectators and viewers from across the globe.

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About Author

Chris, known as Cess on the forums, is a long time RMS member. He is a fervent motorsports enthusiast and lover of all things automotive. He can be found on the ditches of most Irish rallies, at Mondello watching drifting or in front of the TV watching motorbike racing.

RMS Forum Comments

Cess 07:20 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
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) http://reallymeansounds.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/circuit-header.jpg Read the Entire Article Here
davecoupe 08:22 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
| 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.
cormac81 08:26 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
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 08:48 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
Already a thread here: 2017 Circuit of Ireland cancelled amid funding doubts
Gambit 09:20 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
@Cess - do you have the power to move the comments onto your post in news & events? didnt see that this morning!
Cess 09:25 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
No, sorry. Technically you posted before me by 2 mins anyway! :)
davecoupe 09:40 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
I checked too @Cess because i was sure there would be a thread (A)
Graham 10:32 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
comments merged
Cess 11:29 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
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) "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."
Neil Kirkpatrick 11:53 | Wed 27 Jul, 2016 | Report
I reckon from what rumours I have heard, we could see the Circuit being part of a WRC round in the next year or two


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