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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FAQ & 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’.

Is this new?
No, stages rallies are held across the UK every weekend in forests, rural estates and on MOD property. This will be the first rally in England to use closed public roads however these type of events have been running in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man for decades.

The five “special stages” cover a total of approximately 15 miles and the cars will travel over them three times during the day.

How will the closed roads be policed?
Using a combination of event rally marshals, security stewards and Essex Police.

How long will the cars be passing?
Although the roads will be closed all day the competing cars will be passing for approximately 1 hour, three times during the day.

Why do we need to close the roads all day?
To make the “special stages” safe we have to create a controlled environment to ensure that residents, spectators and competitors are safe.

Will residents be able to access their properties?
Yes, residents on the “special stages” will be able to access their properties during specific periods in the day.

Every resident on the “special stage” route has been individually contacted about the event and will be again during February. Each resident will be provided with a Resident Handbook which will detail the process and likely times for the access to their properties along with a contact details for their specific Stage Resident Officer who will be their direct point of contact on the rally weekend.

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.

Spectating on the special stages
Spectators will only be allowed at designated spectator viewing areas. There will be a number 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. Full details will be available closer to the event on the spectator pages of this website.

The event has been working closely with local landowners to find suitable venues for spectator areas and ensure minimal disruption to the rural community.

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.

There will be approximately 1000 volunteer marshals, officials, competitors and service crews staying in the Tendring District over the rally weekend spending money on accommodation, fuel and food. That is in addition to the spectators we expect to draw into the area to watch 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