Only in England would the police set out speed traps next to the shakedown area for World Rally Championship racers hoping to catch them speeding. I mean, really. These guys are driving cars worth over quarter of a million pounds, they are top-class drivers who can easily handle spinning their cars at 100mph. Compare that to me who managed to pass my driving test after only 10 lessons and suddenly I was let loose on the roads of the world – if my car lost traction at 30mph I would have crashed it without any problems (and I have done!). And compare that to a 75 year old man with the reflexes of a lamp post, can only see 100 yards in front of them and the first thing they’d know about being involved in a crash was reading about it in the papers the next day.
You can argue that “rules are rules” but that’s simply rubbish. We’re not all equal and to believe that we are is naive in the extreme. If somebody ran out in front of Richard Burns while he was doing 83mph in a 70mph zone or there was a crash in front of him with his fancy car, fancy reflexes and amazing skill behind the wheel of a car, he’d be able to stop long before Mr. Old Geezer has the chance to react even if he’d been doing 70mph. Pathetic. And in the words of the defence lawyer:
“People are prosecuted for speeding because of the risk to other road-users but the degree of danger from these men is likely to be far less than with other drivers. They’re the most sophisticated vehicles, with better-functioning brake systems than normal cars.”
It could easily jeopardise the British Rally. And people wonder why the police are so resented in this country…
Update: Well, according to BBC News, the motorsport ruling body really is considering dropping the British rally from the calendar. Marvellous.