A POPULAR rally is returning back to Herefordshire later this year bringing thousands of pounds into the local economy.

The Hills Ford Stages Rally will again return to Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire with a ceremonial start and stages on September 14 and 15.

Organisers have broken down the economic impact the 2023 rally had to the region with 115 competitors with an average of two support crew each, approximately 500 marshals, security staff, and officials, and around 2,000 spectators.

With an average spend of between £50 and £100 per person, organisers believe the event generates an estimated local investment of between £150,000 and £284,000 over the rally weekend.

Ahead of this year’s event organisers have addressed environmental fears of holding a rally event.

They said: “Motorsport is frequently criticised for its environmental impact, often becoming entangled in the politics of carbon emissions. However, a deeper look into the layers of motorsport reveals significant benefits that far outweigh the costs.

“Efforts in motorsport have led to the development of more efficient engines and advanced performance technologies that trickle down to everyday road cars. Additionally, motorsport is committed to addressing its carbon footprint, with numerous initiatives focused on sustainability.

“Today’s rally cars, equipped with performance engines that meet stringent UK road requirements, are inherently more efficient.

“Rallying, when compared to other national sports, has a smaller yet passionate community of supporters. While a premier British rally championship round attracts a few thousand spectators, Premier League football match[1]es easily draw crowds of 20,000 - 30,000 or more.

“However, the environmental impact of rally events is meticulously accounted for, with measures in place to offset carbon emissions.

“At the Hills Ford Stages, a structured approach ensures every vehicle, trailer, engineer, service truck, and motorhome is accounted for in terms of carbon impact.

“The rally organisers focus on supporting local carbon offset projects, such as the Severn Valleys Streetscapes Project, rather than international initiatives, demonstrating a commitment to the local community.”

The organisers added that rally events are ‘often non-profit’, with entry fees designed to cover costs rather than generate profit and the majority of any money made spent on safety requirements.

They added: “This community-focused approach also extends to working with local parishes and organisations to support fundraising initiatives, whether for central heating in a church or other local needs.

“Motorsport, particularly rallying, thus emerges not just as a thrilling sport but as a catalyst for innovation, environmental responsibility, and community development.

“By peeling back the layers of this dynamic field, it becomes clear that the benefits of motorsport extend far beyond the race track.

“It is also hoped that through discussions with local colleges and even schools, the organisers can highlight the benefits of education in science, math, and English, as well as mechanical engineering, showcasing the career prospects in motorsport.

“This offers an opportunity to join a community that works together for the success of their passion and hobbies.”