Circuit rallying comes to Scotland

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Circuit rallying is unique, and visits Scotland this weekend (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

The Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship is heading to Knockhill Racing Circuit this Sunday for the third round of the 2018/19 season.

The championship is one of the fastest-growing in the country and has witnessed some of the best rallying battles in recent memory in its short three year history. Defending champion Chris West heads Sunday’s entry list in his Peugeot 306 Maxi, with Scottish heroes Alan Kirkaldy, John Marshall and Donnie MacDonald taking the battle to MSN Championship regulars West, John Stone and Tom Blackwood.

Now in its fourth season, the MSN Championship heads to various different race tracks across the UK, in a hybrid format between racing and rallying.

Rallying – where drivers race against the clock to set the quickest possible time – traditionally takes place in forests or on closed public roads whereas racing occurs on race tracks with a bunch of cars battling each other for position.

Circuit rallying mates the two disciplines together. The special stages are all set within the confides of a race track, but it’s a rally so each car sets off at 30 second intervals and races each other on the time-sheets and not the circuit.

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Fair (right) finds circuit rallying more relaxing than stage rallying (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

This provides a very different viewing spectacle for onlookers and a unique challenge for the competitors. Cameron Fair regularly competes with double Scottish rally champion Jock Armstrong, but is sitting beside Alan Kirkaldy in his Ford Fiesta R5 on Sunday.

“Circuit rallying is quite relaxed for a navigator compared to a circuit event,” Fair said.

“There are no road sections which for me are the most stressful part of a rally. There’s also no route notes, just a map. Spitting out a description of the road to the driver at rally pace can be difficult. The map is more vague so there’s only so much you can tell the driver, and after multiple laps he knows the lay of the land so it’s a good opportunity just to watch the driver do his thing.

“Alan and I are going into the rally looking for a strong result, as Knockhill is a place we both know very well. We’ve finished on the podium in the past so it’d be wrong to say we aren’t looking for another top three this weekend.”

Fair is aware that the competition from the regular championship competitors will be tough, even if he and Kirkaldy have the home advantage.

“Chris West in the 306 is very quick, he drives that car very well.”

“John Stone has a new WRC [Ford] Fiesta which he won with at Rockingham last weekend so he’ll be on the money. There’s also a lot of top Scottish boys that will be there or thereabouts and wanting to make an impact. It’s certainly all to play for!”

Championship co-ordinator Darren Spann is enthusiastic to be heading to Fife for the second year in succession. Hear his thoughts ahead of the event below.

 

 

A full entry list for the Cobble Shop Knockhill Stages can be viewed here, while further information on the event can be found on the circuit’s website.

Swedish music festival bans men in fight against sexual assault

Earlier this month a new Swedish music festival, Statement Festival, was successfully crowdfunded, and just like its name suggests, it was looking to make a statement.

In direct response to the high number of cases of sexual assault at concerts and festivals in Sweden, Statement Festival will only allow cis, non-binary, and trans women to attend; in short, no men allowed. This comes after Bråvalla 2018 was cancelled following 23 cases of sexual assault that were reported from the festival in 2017.

The concept for Statement Festival came from a viral tweet from comedian Emma Knyckare that read: “What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome that we’ll run until ALL men have learned how to behave themselves?”

The tweet quickly led to the creation of a successful Kickstarter that raised 500,000 Swedish Kroner, or more than £46,000, for Statement Festival’s inaugural event in 2018. Acknowledging that “year after year,” concerts in Sweden are unsafe for women, they noted that Statement Festival would help “create a safe space for the people who want to attend a festival without feeling scared for their personal safety.”

 

While news broke of the  festival’s successful funding earlier in the month, its timing is particularly relevant now. Over the past week, people on the web have become very familiar with the #MeToo movement, which encourages individuals to share their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.

The #MeToo movement hopes to end the stigma around speaking about sexual harassment and abuse. Since going viral in recent days, it also has shown just how prevalent these negative experiences are for certain subsets of the population – placing real people in the centre of conversations about sexual violence, rather than abstract numbers and statistics.

In August, Sam Carter, frontman for British metal band Architects, stopped his festival performance at the Lowlands Festival in Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands, after seeing a woman being sexually assaulted in the crowd. After noting that he wasn’t sure whether to say anything about what he witnessed, Carter called out that he saw a man grope a woman who had been crowd surfing and made clear that it was not acceptable at his shows.

Viewer discretion advised, strong language.

Video: Mister Buzz

In any case, while concerts are generally a place of escape and a safe space for many music lovers, it’s important to lift up and protect all members of the scene.

Practice consent and insist those around you to do the same, act when you feel that something isn’t right, and listen to those around you when they say they feel unsafe.

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