New MSA chief David Richards sees 'worrying' UK motorsport trends

New Motor Sports Association chairman David Richards believes safeguarding the future of grassroots motorsports is one of the governing body's greatest challenges

New MSA chief David Richards sees 'worrying' UK motorsport trends

Richards, the 1981 World Rally Championship winning co-driver alongside Ari Vatanen and the founder of Prodrive, gave the annual Watkins Lecture at the Autosport International Show last week, where he outlined some of the major changes he intended to make within the MSA.

"In the past few years we are seeing some worrying trends in the health of our sport," said Richards.

"In fact, over the last decade we've seen a drop in MSA licence-holders of nearly 10%; that's more than 3000 fewer people participating in motorsport in the UK.

"This has contributed to a 15% drop in entries so the warning signs are already there and cannot be ignored."

Richards confirmed he would be speaking to stakeholders within motorsport to thrash out a more detailed plan for the coming months.

"My intention over the coming months is to aggregate insight from across all our sporting disciplines, listen and seek counsel from those whose years of experience and dedication in their specific categories is unsurpassed," continued Richards.

"This will encompass competitors, regulators, legislators and volunteer officials from across the motor sports spectrum."

He also set out three key areas for helping motorsport to become sustainable; establish plans to combat the threats and risks to motorsport, to "chart a safe passage" through political, social, economical and legal factors affecting motorsport and to safeguard and improve the financial future of the MSA to ensure that it can invest and promote the sport in the future.

The MSA's impending bureaucratic changes, which were confirmed after a lengthy operational review, were commended by Richards, but also criticised because they don't "go far enough".

Richards replaced Alan Gow as MSA chairman on January 1 2018. British Touring Car Championship boss Gow had been in charge for 12 years.

Autosport says

Jack Benyon, Group National Editor @jackbenyon

It's a bit early to read into Richards's comments, given that this was merely a speech and there wasn't an opportunity to grill the new chairman on a more codified plan moving forward, but the early signs are strong.

It's correct that grassroots motorsport has suffered heavily in recent years, and Richards's ideas appear to be in line with most I hear across different disciplines.

One of the biggest problems the MSA has is its perceived - whether you agree or not - lack of consultation with competitors and organisers before making big decisions.

That was highlighted significantly by Richards, and that will help him to bring around many of the competitors who are currently discontented with the governing body.

If Richards can deliver on the rest, national motorsport is set for a boom. But it won't be easy.

shares
comments
Billy Monger wants to return to single-seater racing after losing legs
Previous article

Billy Monger wants to return to single-seater racing after losing legs

Next article

Closed-road motorsport in Wales close to green light for 2018

Closed-road motorsport in Wales close to green light for 2018
How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force Plus

How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force

Colin Chapman’s marque was the most successful across Goodwood’s 71 contemporary era Members’ Meetings, from 1949 to 1966. Many of the future Formula 1 pacesetter's finest creations will be in action during this weekend's 2022 event, attempting to re-live an era when period Lotus was gaining unstoppable momentum

Historics
Apr 8, 2022
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

GT
Apr 3, 2022
How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model Plus

How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model

Just over a year ago, Autosport sampled Radical’s newest offering: the SR10. Now upgraded, it’s clear to see why it’s become the manufacturer’s fastest-selling model

Radical
Jan 16, 2022
The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm Plus

The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm

When Thundersports was introduced in 1983, few could have predicted that it would bring an army of heavy metal from the United States to British circuits. The awe-inspiring former Can-Am racers became a new domestic flagship category that captivated spectators and drivers alike

National
Jan 14, 2022
The father and son team taking GT racing by storm Plus

The father and son team taking GT racing by storm

GT Cup title winners Richard and Sam Neary emerged as a race-winning force in British GT in 2021. The father-and-son pairing have done it the hard way with their family team – and 19-year-old Sam is only just getting started on a career he hopes will lead to factory opportunities in the near future

National
Jan 9, 2022
Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport Plus

Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport

The current GB3 Championship car is due to be replaced next season. Autosport got behind the wheel to discover why it's been a popular machine for drivers making their way up the junior single-seater ladder

National
Dec 15, 2021
Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK Plus

Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK

Ahead of Praga running its own standalone series in partnership with Britcar, Autosport got behind the wheel of the Czech company’s R1 at Donington – and was left very impressed

National
Dec 5, 2021
How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory Plus

How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory

After missing out on the 2020 British F4 title in astonishing fashion, Zak O'Sullivan was determined to earn his first car racing title stepping up to the BRDC British F3 championship. While the series underwent a mid-year name change to GB3, the Carlin driver was imperious throughout and deservedly claimed the title in his rookie year

National
Dec 1, 2021