In a new venture, the team behind the organisation of the Merrick Stages Rally since 1990 announces that it is planning a new championship rally to take place in Central Scotland in 2016, but the Merrick will not run in 2015.
Jointly promoted and organised by Machars Car Club Ltd and Scottish Sporting Car Club Ltd, the Merrick has been a regular counter in the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship but has suffered from declining entries in recent years.
The move to the central belt will bring rallying closer to the centres of population and to the motorway network, and will present a more attractive proposition to competitors and spectators from across the country.
The clubs had been hoping to complete the transition by this September but with the complexities of organising a multi-venue stage rally in the current climate the management committee has reluctantly decided to drop plans to hold a rally this year, and re-focus its efforts on 2016.
Commenting on the plans, Clerk of the Course, Graham Bisset said:
"We look forward to delivering a first class rally in 2016. Central Scotland offers great access to the rest of the country which responds to the wishes of our competitors and the championship. The move will open up new opportunities to the rally and with forestry charges in excess of £600 per mile we need to develop a sustainable event and attract more competitors.
"We have taken a responsible decision to concentrate our efforts on 2016. Central Scotland will bring us closer to the centres of population. With the work of the Motorsport Event Safety Review Group and the Motor Sports Association to improve spectator safety we are keen to complete the move.
He added: "We are very thankful for the invaluable support of the people of Wigtownshire and Dumfries and Galloway Council. We are proud of the benefits that we have brought to the region but despite the financial assistance received from Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Merrick has not attracted sufficient entries to break even and incurred a loss in each of the last four years.