Rallye Sunseeker International will once again host the opening round of the 2012 MSA British Rally Championship next year, when the competing crews arrive in Bournemouth and Poole on 24th and 25th of February 2012.
Recently awarded the prestigious title “2011 Rally of the Year” at the MSA British Rally Championship awards, held in Manchester and voted for by the Organisers, Crews and Competitors, this years event will be just as demanding as last years, with Southern Car Club promising a few changes along the way as well to keep all the crews on their toes throughout the event.
BRC Rally Manager Mark Taylor told Rallye Sunseeker at the awards “This years championship started for us with Rallye Sunseeker, way back in February. We had never been there before as a Championship, so to a certain extent it was new for us, but on the other hand everyone has heard of the event as it had been one of the leading National events for years. It was a superb event, it really was, compact, demanding and slippery stages too, so it was a really good opening test for the crews to start with. Poole on Friday night was amazing with all the Spectators that were there, and there is no doubt that the Championship is looking forward to going back next February”
For next year though the MSA British Rally Championship, entering its 54th season, will be for 2wd cars only, in a move to generate closer competition and help cap the costs for those competing. This is endorsed by the fact the there are several one make Championships taking place within the confines of the 2012 MSA British Rally Championship as well, and these include the Citroen Racing Trophy UK, R2 Fiesta Sport Trophy*, Twingo R1 and Twingo R2 UK Trophy.
Once again the Championship is well covered in terms of TV, and Rallye Sunseeker International will be shown in a one hour programme on the Monday after the event on Sky TV, as well as repeated editions of the show through the week.
Rallye Sunseeker 2012 will feature a 10% increase in Stage Mileage, with 11 Gravel Stages for FIA homologated R1, R2 and R3 cars as well as Group A and N. Once again the event will begin with a Ceremonial Start on Poole Quay for all competitors on the Friday evening. Last years event attracted crowds in the region of around 8000 people, a fact that was not lost on Rallye Director Rick Smith who told us “Although Rallye Sunseeker has been running for many years, as we all know, its was our first time in the MSA British Rally Championship, and in turn for them the first time they were here. Last year in Poole Quay was amazing and showed what the rally means to the people in this area, and it was not lost on the organisers of the BRC, who to be honest were impressed with it all and genuinely surprised to see so many people out and about on the Quay. Thing is too, that after the event we had so much positive feedback from the crews who thoroughly enjoyed the chance to meet the public and get time with them on the Friday evening, as the rally had begun for them, but in a relaxed and enjoyable way. It will be nice to do it again next year.”
Rallye Sunseeker is also the opening round for the new 2012 BRC Challenge for 2 Wheel drive cars up to 2000cc, which was won this year by Jack Rowe in his first year of Rallying.
The Rallye Sunseeker National Rally will take place as well, and will cater for Two and Four Wheel drive cars, all homologated R4, N4 and Super 2000 cars, Modified and the Military Challenge for the Armed Forces.
Returning once again to grace places like Somerley Park, are the competitors from the 2012 HRCR Stage Rally Challenge, and this year again has categories for pre-1968, pre-1975 and pre-1982 vehicles.
Once again the event will visit the fantastic Somerley Park on the Saturday for a morning and afternoon run around the Parks lanes and tracks for the drivers, but more importantly for the Spectators is that the Somerley Park Motor Fair will run once again to keep everyone entertained throughout the day with loads of activities for the whole family. Last year the crowds flocked to Somerley Park where they were treated to some superb entertainment a fact not lost on Clerk of the Course Rob Pike who told Rallye Sunseeker “Somerley Park last year for me was one of the highlights of the event. There were thousands of people there, who were kept fully entertained by the attractions that we had. Thing is too that, for the competitors who came here this was the first time they has been through the estate when it was busy, and they loved seeing the spectators lining the stage as they drove through. The water splash was a big hit too for the photographers and crews as well, and we are working just as hard now for next February to have a bigger and better Motorfair, for the whole family to come and enjoy”
This was borne out too, by the eventual 2011 British Rally Champion David Bogie and his co-driver Kevin Rae. On receiving their award for the Championship they were asked what for them was the highlight of the year and David said “Aye well for us it was winning Rallye Sunseeker to be honest. We sort of went down there unfancied as it were and came away with the win in really difficult conditions and it set us up very well for the rest of the year. Sunseeker was one of those short sharp events that really does test you and the car. The stages are different to what we would normally be used to, but it was so well run, y’know we really did enjoy it.” Co-Driver Kevin Rae added “Yeah I agree, Rallye Sunseeker would be the highlight to me too. We went to a tricky and difficult event, but David and I came away with the win and that really did set us up to maintain our challenge for the rest of the events”
For this year Rallye Sunseeker organisers, Southern Car Club have increased the options for access to news and updates leading up to and on the event itself. As well as regular Press Release and Motorsport forum updates, for Fans, Spectators, and Crews Rallye Sunseeker now features on the likes of Twitter, You Tube, Facebook, etc and these can all be found on the event website www.rallyesunseeker.co.uk
The event itself is one of the biggest each year on the South Coast of England, and it brings a lot of investment into the area at a quiet time of the year, an area that has outstanding natural Beauty and facilities. This has been taken on board by the local businesses and people of Dorset in their support of the event and the recent award picked up by Rallye Sunseeker has had huge benefits for those involved along the South coast that the rally brings to the area each year and speaking to Rallye Sunseeker, Bruce Grant Braham, Chairman of the Poole Tourism Management Board told us “What a superb result, and it is super news for the Dorset Area to receive this award. Rick and his team put on a magnificent event, and Poole Tourism welcomed everybody with open arms, and we are delighted to be welcoming them all back again next February. We have a bigger welcome planned for 2012 and this award have given us the impetus to put on a good show in both Bournemouth and Poole when they come. I am delighted for all of those locally who are involved in the rally, and make the effort to support it, and this award is a really good reflection of that.”
The name Sunseeker International is synonymous with the event, and the area and has been for many years so it was a delighted Stewart McKintyre- MD of Sunseeker International that told Rallye Sunseeker “With the success of last years event, we are looking forward to sponsoring the 2012 Rallye Sunseeker rally, with this being our 14th year as title sponsors. We are delighted to be involved in such a prominent motorsport event once again this year, as a local business it’s an important date for us in our event calendar – we are lucky to have it right on our doorstep!”
Once again the Media plays an important and pivotal part of any event, and Rallye Sunseeker is no different. We look forward to welcoming all aspects of the Media that wish to join us next year and the relevant forms can be downloaded from the Media section of the Rallye Sunseeker site. All news items will be listed on our website, but will also be distributed via the new Media outlets as shown on the website.
All that remains for now is for the Organisers of Rallye Sunseeker to say we look forward to seeing you all next February in Dorset where you can be assured of a warm welcome.
* – Awaiting Confirmation for 2012