With enquiries for new-look Baja GB
With just over two months to go before Britain's first ever Baja-type event gets underway from Llandrindod Wells in mid-Wales, the organising team of the Baja GB 2006 at Baja Wales Ltd have been flooded with enquiries from prospective
competitors, media and spectators alike.
Event regulations have now been approved by the MSA and submitted to the FIA for final clarification and event officials are putting the finishing touches to the three-day event, which gets underway with a ceremonial start at The Lake in Llandrindod Wells at 19.00 hrs on Friday, August 18th and finishes on Sunday, August 20th at 16.00 hrs after approximately 320 km of competitive action in the mid-Welsh forests.
The experienced Malcolm Neill has been appointed as Rally Director to offer his expertise to the organising team. The Ulsterman was a former Clerk of the Course of the Circuit of Ireland and RAC rallies in the UK and has worked as a motorsport consultant in recent years to bolster successful WRC bids by Mexico and Turkey and as Clerk of the Course of the Qatar Baja and Qatar International Rally.
Cars complying with FIA T1 and T2 homologation requirements will be eligible to compete in the main international event, but there will also be a National section for cars complying with the regulations for the Matador Tyres MSA British Off-Road Championship.
In addition to a total number of 55 starters in the car category, Baja GB has now become affiliated to the ACU and there will be a separate Bike and Quad section, restricted to a maximum number of 35 starters for the first year. Entries officially close on Friday, July 28th.
"We have been inundated with enquiries from regular off-road competitors, motorcycle and quad entrants and international drivers," said Chris Tomley, Chairman of the MSA's Off-Road Committee and Clerk of the Course of Baja GB 2006.
"The response from the motorcycle and enduro fraternity has been very encouraging and several of Britain's top riders, who take part in the Dakar Rally, have expressed a desire to take part. Car manufacturers are also interested and several leading British rally drivers are contemplating taking part in an event of this type for the first time. Britain is a major market for off-road vehicles and I am sure that the likes of Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen will be attracted to this type of exciting new marketing opportunity in the near future. We look forward to seeing everyone in Llandrindod Wells."
Practising the route for the Baja will be strictly forbidden, although event officials have laid on a challenging route consisting of seven selective sections. International competitors will tackle four selectives during leg one on Saturday, August 19th (approximately 200 km) and a further three on Sunday, August 20th (120 km). National entrants will be permitted three selective sections during leg one and two on the final day.
The event will be based at the Montpellier Hotel in Llandrindod Wells and there will be a centralised service park and media centre in nearby Crossgates. Scrutineering, marking and sealing will take place between 11.30 hrs and 16.30 hrs on Friday, August 18th in Crossgates, prior to the ceremonial start at 19.00 hrs.
The proposed event has the full backing of the Motor Sports Association (MSA), the Forestry Commission, the Welsh Development Agency (WDA), the Welsh Assembly Government and Andrew Davies, the Welsh Minister for Economic Development and Transport.