COUNCILS in Yorkshire are in talks over hosting an international motor rally event in the county, the Yorkshire Post has learned.
The county’s recent success in securing the start of the Tour de France, the world’s biggest cycle race, and the hugely positive reaction from the public is understood to have added fresh impetus to the discussions among council leaders and chief executives.
Sources stressed no final decisions has been taken but a bid for a rally would be likely to focus on the same winning formula of vibrant urban centres offering historic buildings and the facilities to cope with large numbers of visitors, allied to the stunning backdrops and sporting challenge offered by rural Yorkshire’s roads.
Yorkshire was a regular part of the route of the RAC Rally in its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s with York and Harrogate as start and finishing points. The event, part of the World Rally Championship and now known as Rally GB, has been confined to Wales since 2000 where it receives financial support from the Welsh Assembly.
Any attempt to secure it for Yorkshire could be part of a move to rebrand it a truly national event, although other options for similar motorsport events are also understood to be on the table.
If a decision to press ahead is taken, the councils involved are likely to stress the huge economic benefits both from the number of visitors that would attend the event and the media coverage.
While the cost of hosting next year’s Grand Départ of the Tour de France has been put at around £10m, it is thought the event could generate benefits worth around £100m.