‘Motor sport is Marmite but we are being forced to eat it’

A CASTEL resident who is objecting to next year’s proposed Guernsey Rally has acknowledged that motor sport is like Marmite.

Ross Le Noa and Dominic Volante tackling one of the chicanes near the Manor Hotel in this year's event.(Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin)
Ross Le Noa and Dominic Volante tackling one of the chicanes near the Manor Hotel in this year's event.(Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin)

‘But we are being made to eat Marmite,’ they said.

The resident who lives on the route, but did not want to be named because they did not want to be identified by the rally organisers, contacted the Guernsey Press to dispute an article on the rally last week.

They said they wanted to ‘give residents a voice’ on the matter.

‘There were more than just two or three complaints. I know of four families and one individual who complained to the douzaine,’ they said.

The householder raised a number of points about the rally and its organisation.

‘We received a letter and were asked to respond within three days. Environment & Infrastructure specifically says residents must be given adequate notice.’

The resident also questioned whether letters were only going to houses that faced onto the route and not landowners who owned fields or land, which may contain livestock.

‘Their insurance only appears to cover damage from cars crashing into things, not to damage from spectators or caused by livestock or distressed animals to themselves or property. The letter also says very little about the event itself, there is no mention of the noise or speed of the vehicles.’

Guernsey Rally chairman Karl Marshall responded to the complaints.

‘The three days mentioned in the letter was simply to acknowledge receipt. Complaints would still have been heard after that,’ he said.

‘There were delays in getting some of the information on land ownership due to staff shortages at the States but all those letters have now gone out. We have written to 140 landowners.’

On the matter of insurance, Mr Marshall said organisers had motor sport UK insurance of £100m. for the races, as well as their own public liability insurance which would cover the majority of matters that could arise.

‘Spectators here don’t wander through properties, and as for livestock, no insurance will cover that,’ he said.

‘My dog doesn’t like fireworks, but you can’t get insurance for that. We have talked to farmers over the years and if they feel animals react to noise, they move them for the duration of the race.’

As for noise and speed, Mr Marshall said the rally cars were limited to 100 decibels, below the 120 limit for road bikes in common use.

‘The speed is hard to gauge, as, due to the course it is not a speed event, it’s about skill.’

The Castel resident also questioned how the rally had got approval from E&I for the first event in 2018.

‘It goes against the island’s green policies. It’s a niche hobby and there are already established motor sport events. Why did they extend it into the island where it’s never been before?

‘St Andrew’s said they didn’t want it, and now its been foisted on to us. And our constables have agreed without any consultation. None of my neighbours want it, but there’s been no democratic process.’

Traffic and Highways is still considering whether to approve the event.

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