A tourism chief has welcomed the national exposure that this year’s MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) is going to give to the towns, villages and stunning countryside of Mid Wales.
The BRC, which opens with the Mid Wales Stages Rally based in Newtown from March 5-6, will return to terrestrial TV screens after concluding a deal with Channel 4 to cover the seven-round series.
The country’s premier rally championship will also be shown on BT Sport as part of a new broadcast package that will ensure that the high octane action reaches as many fans as possible.
In the summer, the BRC is back in Mid Wales for the Nicky Grist Stages based at Builth Wells from July 9-10. In addition, the Wales Rally GB from October 27-30 attracts international coverage.
Val Hawkins, chief executive of MWT, an independent organisation that represents around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses in Mid Wales, said the national coverage given to the rally was “fantastic news” for the region.
“Mid Wales is now world famous for hosting motorsport events and the television coverage that they attract, which represents many thousands of pounds of free marketing, is fantastic for the region’s profile,” she added.
“The rallies in March and October are great for the tourism and hospitality industry because they attract so many visitors and extend he season.
“I would encourage businesses to ensure that they are geared up for these rallies because spectators often need an early start. Having their accommodation included on ourhttp://www.visitmidwales.co.uk/ site will certainly make them more visible to visitors looking to book somewhere to stay.”
The BRC returns in 2016 with a new promoter, new classes, a new calendar and a new vision to provide the ultimate test of the best drivers in the latest cars on some of the most iconic stages in UK rallying.
As a result of its worldwide reputation as one of the most competitive championships in the world, drivers from Ireland, Australia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Italy are expected to do battle with the UK’s best rally talent, including M-Sport’s WRC star Elfyn Evans.
They will be hoping to add their name to a prestigious roll of honour that includes some legendary names of the sport, including Vatanen, Clark, Mikkola, McRae and Burns.
Produced by Worcestershire-based Hayfisher Productions, each BRC round will enjoy a 30 minute slot on Channel 4 as part of the channel’s weekend morning sports programming, with a repeat of the action later in the week.
BT Sport viewers will enjoy a longer 60-minute programme, providing an opportunity to expand on some of the great stories that will develop in the course of the season, including the battle for the DMACK Junior BRC title that will catapult one young driver into international competition in 2017.
The revamped series will take in seven events across the British Isles as it tours England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland before culminating on the iconic lanes of the Isle of Man.
Keep tabs on all the latest BRC developments by visiting www.msabrc.com or on social media: MSA British Rally Championship on Facebook and @MSA_BRC on Twitter using #BRC.
The remaining BRC events are: April 8-9, Circuit of Ireland in Belfast; April 30-May 1, Pirelli Carlisle Rally in Carlisle; June 25, RSAC Scottish Rally in Dumfries; August 19-20, Ulster Rally in Derry/Londonderry and September 15-17, Rally Isle of Man in Douglas.
Earlier this month, Channel 5 confirmed that it will broadcast television coverage of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), including Wales Rally GB.
Channel 5, which replaces ITV4 as the WRC’s terrestrial TV partner in the UK, will provide the most comprehensive free-to-air coverage of the WRC in Britain for many years. Additionally, Channel 5 will be airing extra coverage of Wales Rally GB, including a daily highlights programmes throughout the event as well as the all-important Power Stage live.