England holds inaugural competitive closed-road event

Over 5000 fans attended Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton 2018, ahead of competitive motorsport making a return to city streets in June

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Last weekend the UK held its first closed-road motorsport event since a change in legislation, as campaigned for by the Motor Sports Association, came into force last April.

Over 5000 fans were estimated to have attended the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton in which 106 cars entered. Melvyn Evans and co-driver Sean Hayde made history by winning the inaugural 45-mile event in their Subaru Impreza S12B.

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The Motor Sports Association had campaigned for the law change after the Sport Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University conducted research that concluded Britain could generate up to £40 million of revenue from staging closed-road motor sport events.

Chairman of the MSA, David Richards, 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.’

Victorious Melvyn 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.’

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.’

In June, competitive motor sport is set to return to Britain’s city streets for the first time in nearly 30 years. The UK law changes mean MotoFest Coventry is able to run a time-trial event, the first since the 1990 Birmingham Superprix.

Images courtesy of M&H Photography

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