Guernsey Press

Guernsey Rally gets set to return next February

Guernsey Rally is returning to island roads next February, with plans already submitted to Traffic & Highway Services.

More than 30 cars took part in the two-day, 24-stage event in 2023. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33109114)

The 2024 rally was controversially cancelled after Environment & Infrastructure put in place a temporary ban on events requiring multiple road closures.

It also announced a review into managing such closures and that it would investigate charging organisers to pay for administration currently funded by taxpayers.

Rally chairman Karl Marshall said that for his organising team, there had been little change between now and the last rally in 2023, when more than 30 cars took part in the two-day, 24-stage event.

‘The way we apply hasn’t changed and there is no charge,’ he said.

‘However we will be doing more of the paperwork this year.’

E&I has been approached for comment.

Some islanders thought the announcement, made on Monday morning, 1 April, was a joke, but Mr Marshall said it was just a coincidence.

‘We had a hill climb event at the weekend and it was announced then and so we released the social media statements at the same time.’

The annual motor sports race started in 2018 but has proved unpopular with a section of islanders in the past. This came to a head with the 2023 rally, which included the cancellation of a section in Torteval after a resident threatened to lie down in front of the cars and stages at Felconte were vandalised when signs were removed the night before the event.

But Mr Marshall was confident a 2025 version would get across the start line.

‘There will be people who don’t want it, but a lot of those issues have now been resolved and the stages have been chosen accordingly,’ he said.

The event generally takes place in the island’s more rural parishes and Mr Marshall said the 2025 rally locations ‘would have a bit of everything’. ‘These are basically the plans we had for 2024. T&HS are looking at them now.’

Part of the 2023 event took part in St Peter’s and constable Tim Langmead said the parish had not heard anything officially regarding an event in 2025.

‘We will probably object again, the majority, although not all of the douzaine were against the last rally, but this will be debated at a later date,’ he said.

St Andrew’s senior Constable Martin Thwaite said the parish had backed the rally in the past.

‘Generally we are in support of the event although we have had no details through as of yet,’ he said. ‘Parts of the 2023 rally were in our parish and we had no problems.’

Organisers estimated the event brought in more than £80,000 for the local economy through travel, hotels, fuel, and restaurants.

Tourism Management Board chairwoman Hannah Beacom welcomed news of a 2025 event and said that one of the key strategic aims in its framework for the visitor economy, published yesterday, was to prioritise extending the tourism season.

‘We’re also keen to focus on supporting efforts to develop, promote and enable sporting events,’ she said.

‘A Guernsey Rally in February 2025 would help with both of those aims so it would be great if it can be successfully delivered.’