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Snowman Rally will not take place in 2024 as organisers cancel event


By Will Clark

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Jock Armstrong and Hannah McKillop came first, John Wink and Neil Shanks came second and Michael Binnie and Claire Mole came third.. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Jock Armstrong and Hannah McKillop came first, John Wink and Neil Shanks came second and Michael Binnie and Claire Mole came third.. Picture: James Mackenzie.

The biggest motor racing event in the Highlands will not go ahead this year after it has been confirmed the Snowman Rally has been cancelled for 2024.

Event organisers have confirmed that the event, which is traditionally the first round of the Scottish Rally Championship will not be able to take place on March 2.

It has been revealed that damage to the planned course through Inverness-shire and Ross-shire, along with negotiations between Motorsport UK and Forestry and Land Scotland not being finalised, have led to the cancellation of the event.

As a result, organisers have confirmed they are pulling the plug on staging this year’s event, but hope to return in the future.

The cancellation is a blow to the Inverness and Ross-shire economy as last year 101 drivers took part in the race.

Last year, the rally was won by Jock Armstrong from Castle Douglas and his co-driver Hannah McKillop from Melrose.

In recent years, a drivers’ parade also took place in Dingwall Town Centre which proved extremely popular.

Snowman Rally clerk of the course Andy Jardine confirmed yesterday that due to damage to the course as well as negotiations not being finalised, led to the decision to cancel the event this year.

He said: “The thing that finished it was there was weather damage in a couple of the forests that we use.

“There is an access road that has been undermined by one of the recent storms and also there is another forest where the bridge is damaged.

“We needed to find an alternative route, but these things have happened too near to the event to start from scratch, we felt it was best to give it a miss this year.

“Two stages of the course at Boblainy and Glenurquhart have been affected.

"The storm which occurred towards the end of last year caused a landslip and it was found that the road was undermined.”
Jardine also said with negotiations between Motorsport UK and Forestry and Land Scotland not being finalised, there was too much of a financial risk to the event.

He said: “Motorsport UK is in negotiations with Forestry and Land Scotland with access to forests for rallying and the deal hasn’t been done.

“It felt there was a risk that we could get near to the date of the event only to be told that we could not go rallying.

“It is a financial risk as we were about to spend money on the event.”

“If it was cancelled, we wouldn’t get any of the money back.”

“It is difficult, but it is the right decision given the circumstances.”

Jardine says organisers are determined the rally comes back in 2025.

He said: “It is one of the biggest sporting events in the Highlands, not just for the people who come and compete but for spectators it is one of the highlights of their year.

“We don’t want to rush things and get it wrong, we will take our time and plan something better for next year.”


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