Press Release

8th November 2017

Chelmsford Motor Club is proud to announce preliminary details of its first closed road stage event, the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton, which takes place on Sunday 22nd April 2018.

The club is pleased to welcome Corbeau Seats as the title sponsor of the rally, which will be the first to make use of new legislation facilitating closed-road motorsport in England.

Vic Lee, Managing Director of Corbeau Seats said, “We are very excited to be involved with such a pioneering project. Chelmsford Motor Club have achieved something very special and we are proud to be part of what we all hope will be the first of many closed road motorsport events. With Corbeau Seats being the first motorsport seat manufacturer in the world and still going strong, we hope that this event can enjoy the longevity and growth we have experienced over the last 55 years”.

More than 3 years of behind the scenes work from a small but determined team has led to this point. Chelmsford Motor Club could not have got this far without the help of fellow rally experts from around the UK. Essex County Council, Tendring District Council and the Motor Sport Association (MSA) have all been pivotal to the progress.

Chelmsford Motor Club’s Tony Clements, Event Director, said: “Not surprisingly, there have been many challenges! Following extensive local consultation, we have made a few changes to the route. The special stages are a good mix of technical and challenging country lanes and we hope that a successful first running will allow the rally to grow in subsequent years. This is the beginning of a huge new chapter for motorsport and particularly rallying in the UK and I would personally like to thank everybody for their help and support.

The rally will be based on the Western Esplanade in Clacton with the special stages spread across the Tendring peninsula. There will be three loops of five different stages, 15 stages altogether, totalling approximately 45 stage miles and 100 road ‘link’ miles.
As part of the authorisation process the MSA, governing body of UK motorsport, has issued an Event Organising Permit. A Motor Race Order application has subsequently been made to Essex County Council Highways Authority.

There is a lot work ahead to ensure a safe and successful event and Chelmsford Motor Club will be relying on help from across the motorsport and local communities to make it happen.

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Background Information

What is a ‘stage rally’?

It’s a competition for road legal cars with safety and performance modifications. Experienced drivers, licenced by the Motor Sport Association are started one at a time, at 30 second or one minute intervals and are timed over the course. The competition takes place over a number of tests called ‘special stages’. The ‘special stages’ can be on roads or tracks closed especially for the purpose. The winner is the car with the least combined time on the ‘special stages’.

Motor Sport Association and Insurance

The Motor Sport Association (MSA), is the governing body for motorsport in the UK and is responsible for authorising and administering motorsport in the UK. The MSA arranges third party liability insurance cover for all events, cover being up to £65 million per claim.

Chelmsford Motor Club

Chelmsford Motor Club is a non-profit making sports club that has events organised for its members, by its members. We have a membership that covers all of East Anglia and further afield. This event is being run by unpaid volunteers, just like most other local sporting events that run such as football, cricket, horse shows etc.

What is pre-event ‘scrutineering’ and the rally car ‘service area’?

Before the rally the competing cars undergo a series of safety and technical checks called scrutineering. During the rally, after each ‘loop’ of stages, the competing cars return to a central ‘service area’ for maintenance and refuelling. This creates its own ‘rally village’ area, which is interesting to view and normally attracts a significant amount of spectators.

What type of cars can take part?

The competing cars start as normal road cars but then undergo safety modifications and have to be registered and approved by the MSA. A wide range of vehicles from historic Ford Escorts up to the latest World Rally cars will be taking part. There will be 120 competing cars starting at 30 second intervals.

How will the closed roads be policed?

Using a combination of event marshals, security stewards and Essex Police.

Spectating on the special stages

Spectators will only be allowed at designated spectator viewing areas. There will be approximately three of these along the competitive route and casual spectators will be directed to these. There will be security stewards at all other access points to the ‘special
stages’ preventing spectator access. Viewing details will be available closer to the event.


Following input from residents, Chelmsford Motor Club can confirm that the following charities will be supported. The amounts shown are the minimum guaranteed from the organising club and will be supplemented by collections taking place around the rally itself.

Essex Air Ambulance £2000
Royal National Lifeboat Institution £2000
Riding for the Disabled Association £1000