The development of young rally drivers in Scotland has received a major boost thanks to “unprecedented” backing from international aviation trading company Royal Aero Group.
The German-based firm, which is headed by long-time rally enthusiast and competitor Calum MacLeod, has increased its support of the Junior category for the 2012 MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
For 2011, the firm introduced the Deserving Driver Award, which provided assistance to one driver on each round of the championship as a result of an outstanding, or “deserving”, drive during the season.
Next year, all SRC-registered junior drivers, born on or after January 1st 1989, will be offered a £120 reduction in the entry fee on each of the eight rounds of the championship. As well as the age stipulation, they must compete in a two-wheel drive car of up to 2000cc.
Royal Aero’s Junior Support Scheme will work in tandem with the championship’s established and highly-acclaimed junior programme, which the company will co-sponsor with the Colin McRae Vision in 2012.
“I felt that we needed to spread our support beyond this year’s “Deserving Driver Award” to encourage and enable more juniors to participate in the Scottish championship”, said Calum, who has two rallying sons of his own.
“It’s a very expensive sport and it’s hard for kids at apprentice level income to enter many rounds, so this may encourage them and their family, friends and sponsors to achieve more. Without the youngsters coming through behind us “old folk”, the sport and events will struggle to survive, so hopefully this small gesture will help”.
SRC Chairman Neil Shanks said the increased support from Royal Aero Group would take the nurturing and development of young rallying talent in Scotland to new heights.
“We are delighted that Royal Aero Group has decided to not only continue its support of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship Junior Category, but to increase it for the coming season. These are tough financial times for everyone, but this will undoubtedly benefit the category that needs help the most, which is fantastic. Both Royal Aero Group and the Championship organising team firmly believe this reinforces the SRC as the best place in Britain for young talent to compete”.
In the past the aviation company have supported Ruary and Gary MacLeod, and 2007 Scottish Junior Champion Alasdair Graham.
Calum MacLeod will himself be competing on the Aberfeldy-based Colin McRae Forest Stages - the final round of the Scottish championship - on October 1st.
Co-driven by wife Claudia, he will field the distinctive MG ZR S2000 in which the couple achieved a top twenty finish on the ProTune Remapping Merrick Stages earlier this month.