With the stark reality of climate change, how is motorsport able to continue?
East Riding Stages Rally Event Director Richard Vincent explores how the rally is working to minimise it's carbon footprint and how we can make motorsport sustainable.
I was probably like a lot of you, when our local council dropped off some colourful plastic bins and asked us to start separating our waste, I was happy to do it and thought that I was doing my bit for the environment and left it there.
It wasn’t until my eldest daughter first went vegetarian, and then vegan, that I started to take more notice about the future of our planet and the effect that we are all having on it.
How does that sit with being a rally fan? Well, whatever our hobbies are, they're going to impact on the environment in one way or another. The real question is, what are you going to do about it?
I love rallying and I’ve been involved in the sport one way or another ever since I was 14 years old. But if I want to ensure that rallying stays around for the next two or three generations, then I have to look at the way I live my life. I now drive an electric vehicle - granted it’s not for everyone - but I’m enjoying the driving experience for the first time in over a decade!
In particular I wanted to explore what I could do, as the Event Director of Yorkshire's first closed road rally, to make a difference to the environment and to reduce the impact of the event.
What is the East Riding Stages Rally doing to reduce our carbon footprint?
All of our stage furniture - the signage we use on the event, from the boards at all the stage time controls, to the arrows that point the way on the stages and the "Motorsport is Dangerous" notices - have been printed using the latest HP flat bed digital printer, thanks to our sponsors Greens the Signmakers. The printer uses special HP inks, and HP will re-cycle every product printed with their inks.
All our sponsors logos and East Riding Stages logos that you see on the doors of the safety cars and rally cars, have been printed on special self-adhesive vinyl. The backing paper on most sticky vinyl is non-recyclable, however ours use a special backing sheet which allows it to be recycled easily.
We are working with Carbon Positive Motorsport to allow competitors to offset their carbon emissions from fuel usage. Carbon Positive Motorsport have made it really easy for individuals to offset even small amounts of carbon emissions. Their scheme is not just greenwashing; the offsets come from high quality, verified and registered tree planting and rewilding schemes, that actually take place here in the UK. With their Carbon Positive product, they put more back than the competitor takes out.
The cost of this is not as high as you would think; one competitor I know who lives on the far side of York says it will cost her about £15.00 for the whole weekend. This may seem a lot of money to some, but rallying is an expensive pastime, so in the grand scheme of things it’s not too bad. As it's the first year for our event, we've given our competitors the option of carbon offsetting, but next year we will not be so lenient!
So what about spectators? Well, a portion of the ticket price to spectate at Burton Constable Hall, will be spent with Carbon Positive Motorsport to offset some of the carbon emissions that the spectators have generated in getting to the event.
I ask you all to look at your fuel usage, visit the Carbon Positive Motorsport website at www.carbonpositivemotorsport.com/purchase-offsets and help us to make motorsport sustainable now.
What is rallying in general doing about the environment?
Both the FIA (the world governing body of Motorsport) and Motorsport UK, (the UK governing body) are working hard to make changes to every aspect of the sport to see where improvements can be made. At the top level of world rallying, the World Rally Championship, the new for 2022 Rally 1 cars are full Hybrid models, which also use special non-fossil fuel in their petrol engines, making them as carbon neutral as possible. Some manufacturers are experimenting with full EV rally cars as well, extremely fast but very quiet!
What can you do as spectators to make a difference over the rally weekend?
Obviously, log onto the Carbon Positive Motorsport website and offset your fuel usage! Bring friends with you - the entry ticket for the Spectator Zone at Burton Constable Hall is per car, so team up with your mates to save some money and reduce your car usage. Finally, there is a financial and environmental cost to collecting litter thrown into the hedgerows, as well as it looking awful, so please, take all your litter away and recycle it at home!
If you would like to purchase event tickets, please have a look at our website bdmc.org.uk/ersr-2022
We hope all spectators will have a safe and enjoyable day, and remember to follow the instructions of the marshals!