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Green light for motor rally race in Clacton on April 22 2018

PUBLISHED: 16:52 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:52 09 November 2017

It is hoped the event will be another in Tendring's calendar which brings thousands of people to the area, as Clacton Air Show does. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA

It is hoped the event will be another in Tendring's calendar which brings thousands of people to the area, as Clacton Air Show does. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA

PAVEL.KRICKA@btinternet.com

A closed-road rally car race looks set to come to Clacton next year after the sport’s governing body gave the event – the first in England – the green light.

The Corbeau Seats Rally will be based on Marine Parade West and take to the streets around the town, and surrounding villages, on Sunday, April 22.

Organised by Chelmsford Motor Club, it is using new government legislation which allows public roads to be used for motor-racing events, and will the first in England.

Up to 120 cars will set off at 30 second intervals to take on three loops of five set stages, connected by open public roads – meaning all of the cars will be road legal. However, they must have special safety adaptations to be allowed to take part.

Chelmsford Motor Club’s Tony Clements, event director, said: “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.”

A wide range of vehicles from historic Ford Escorts to the latest World Rally cars are expected to sign up.

Drivers, who must be licensed, do not race along the connecting roads. After each loop of stages, the cars return to a central service area, creating a rally village.

Spectators are limited to set viewing areas along the route as safety is paramount.

Brian Hemmings, one of the organisers, added: “It is quite possible we will get people coming from all over the country to watch this, and there will be teams all wanting accommodation, food and drink – it is a big boost for the area.”

Mick Skeels, Tendring District Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said the authority was continuing to work with the club and Motor Sports Association over the event.

“We believe the rally will attract a large number of visitors to the area and provide a valuable shot in the arm for tourism as well as an economic boost for the whole district,” he said.

“It is another event for the Tendring calendar and one of national significance which will also be of great interest to many of our residents. It shows we are keen to stage top sporting events, such as the Tour of Britain this September, and it all helps to extend our season.”

The Motor Sport Association has approved the plans, and now an application lies with Essex County Council on the technicalities of the route.

The route has not been revealed, but the organisers say it has been changed from original plans which were consulted upon with residents along the initial route.

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