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How is rally spectating still legal?



Danith

ClioSport Club Member
  VRS 230 & Ep3
Always wondered this, guessing I won't be only one! But after looking at a video on another thread (see below), it got me wondering again, how is watching rallying (and I guess IOM TT) still legal!?

We have seated only sections for football now and all sorts of other health and safety related things (speed limits in pit lanes at F1, for example), yet folk can stand an inch off a dusty gravel track as a 100 mph hatchback flies past, sometimes airborne!?

Don't get me wrong, it's all part of the buzz I'm sure - not my cup of tea though to get that close.

 

McGherkin

ClioSport Club Member
Don't know what you're on about.
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Mind you, most aren't that f**king stupid. Rally spectating is fooking awesome. Nothing beats an angry Yaris flying down a ski slope.
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brisa4984

ClioSport Club Member
I agree. It’s exhilarating but f**king dangerous.

I was watching a rally when I was 14. Standing beside the road on the fastest section of the whole rally. A 306 maxi passed me and 100 yards down the road hit a bollard and killed a kid and lady.

Just found it on you tube. I remember seeing that.

 

massivewangers

ClioSport Club Member
  Several
A lot of that footage looks quite old. Things have changed a lot in the UK in recent years, and a lot of effort goes into spectator safety. A lot of rallies have spectator pens in safe places, and there are prohibited zones that you're not allowed in (the outside of corners, escape roads etc). It's still possible on most events to find your way into a stage and stand in an unofficial spot, but anyone in a dangerous position will be told to move by one of the pre-stage safety cars, and the stage can be stopped if required.

You'll always get idiots of course, and there is always new footage of some mong standing in a ridiculous place (usually taking pictures or videos), but things are a lot safer now than they have ever been. The consensus seems to be that the UK is quite a long way ahead of a lot of Europe in terms of spectator safety, and I can believe that. We have been through a huge review following some spectator fatalities a few years ago. Some of the footage from events in Spain and Italy is a bit scary, as they seem very relaxed about it, but I went to Monte Carlo this year and Ypres last year and they were very well organised.

I hope it doesn't become too sanitised. Watching racing at a circuit is really dull. The atmosphere and spectacle of a rally is just in another league.
 

Twingo 1??

ClioSport Club Member
  Twingo 133 Cup,
The people who are standing in and taking pictures in silly places are luckily a small minority. By the looks of the above it's mainland Europe in the pictures and video.
The organisers of rallys in this country have a hard job as people move after safety cars have past and stages are live. As drivers on closed road events we are encouraged to report people in stupid places so they can be dealt with.
 

Greeny.

ClioSport Club Member
  www.trackclio.co.uk
How are they meant to police it when they are taking place through random rural areas/forests etc?!
 

Mertin

ClioSport Club Member
  Ph1 172&Ph2 172 Cup
I have seen alot of changes in spectator safety in the scottish rally championship over the last 10 years. Unfortunately there was a few fatalaties which drove the change

Its alot more tightly controlled, more marshalls moving on people and alot of areas where there is no spectating at all. Before you used to walk on the stage, jump off when a car was coming and then back on the stage to get to where you want. None of that now and alot of verges flattened / topped so all walking is off stage. Also some stages have no spectating at all
 

McGherkin

ClioSport Club Member
Before you used to walk on the stage, jump off when a car was coming and then back on the stage to get to where you want.
Lol, I was doing that at Rally GB one year and my phone fell out of my pocket, had to wait until the next car had gone past before I could retrieve it! (It didn't fall anywhere the cars were touching, fortunately)

The next car was Neuville... he didn't get much further. 2-300m down the road:
 

Twingo 1??

ClioSport Club Member
  Twingo 133 Cup,
I think it also depends on the rally and how close to towns they are. The ones in Scotland mentioned above are easy accessible for the people who just want to go and see a rally and get pissed. Where as rallys such as Mull are harder to get to and not easy to get into places you shouldn't. But it happens on lots of rallys and it's quite scary doing over 100 down a stage at night and dick heads are stood a few feet from the road on a cut you were going to take.
 

massivewangers

ClioSport Club Member
  Several
How are they meant to police it when they are taking place through random rural areas/forests etc?!
You can't police every mile of every stage, but you can usually cover most of the access points. The vast majority won't stray that far, so will stay in areas where there are marshals and can be controlled. Some will hike up the road and out of sight, which I would usually do too on events like Rally GB, but most will still be sensible in where they stand. There are always a few idiots with a death wish, but it's mostly fairly sensible.

I think we'll see more strict enforcement as the years pass, especially as rallies evolve. I don't think forest rallies in the UK are totally sustainable, so I think we'll probably see a shift towards closed-road tarmac events, with dedicated spectator zones and quite strict policing on other parts of the stages. The forest fans won't like it, but it's probably the sensible move.
 
I remember going to a smallish Welsh Rally in about 2010. We wanted to get an amazing spot for photos so ventured further and further into the forrest.
Nearly ended up getting squished by an Evo on what was the edge of a jump :LOL:
 

Jason_E

ClioSport Club Member
  M2 Comp, Clio 182.
I went to my first rally last year, Wales GB 2019. I have to say there is a LOT more emphasis on spectator safety than it might seem.

Before any cars go out on stage, they have several different course cars do runs of the stage. Both to check the stage for hazards (I imagine), but also to shout at spectators who were standing in stupid places. Then you have a marshall point every few hundred yards, they are all blowing whistles etc to warn of an approaching car, whilst also watching out for people stood in dickhead places. Baring in mind, dangerous places with no cover etc also have big bright orange barriers blocking them off fom spectators. So you're very much told not to stand in dangerous places. Acceptable places seem to be deep in woods up an embankment with a few rows of trees between you and a car, or on a straighter part maybe a bit less cover is required.

What this all meant was our first stage, after getting a good spot in some trees and sitting on a camp chair in the pissing rain for 3 hours, was cancelled after about 6 cars went by. Because some arseholes were stood in a dangerous place, and were told to move several times. The result is just cancelling the stage.

Having said that, you're still close enough to get peltered with stones. And some of the "safety" guidance about spectating, is one of the course marshalls yelling at you to get behind a tree. I guess it works as there arent many cases of spectator injuries/fatalities these days, if there are, it usually transpires they've stood in a dumb position they arent allowed to.
 

Amos91

ClioSport Club Member
I've been to the WRC is Germany a few times. Marshalls everywhere, they blow a whistle when a car is coming and all spectators are viewing from specific areas only.

Had a few stages where spectators were in certain areas getting too close to the track, so they pulled the stage and shut it down.
 
  clio172cup
You've got to admire the Marshals who devote their free time to make rallying possible. Come Rain or shine and have to deal with some difficult people on times.
 


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