Following recent heavy snowfall in the region during the week, the Riponian Rally, which was scheduled for today [Sunday, February 15] and was to have comprised the opening round of the Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship, has had to be postponed.

The forests around Thirsk and Helmsley already had a good covering following previous snowfall but when more arrived on Thursday, it caused further problems and following a route inspection on Friday morning, and subsequent meeting with the Forestry Commission, the organisers issued the following statement.

"Much to the regrets of the organising team we have to announce the cancellation of the Riponian Rally scheduled for this Sunday. The following is a communication received from the Forestry Commission earlier today: 'We have had a look at the roads that we can get to and unfortunately we do not feel that it is safe to run the rally in these conditions. We will therefore not be issuing a permission to hold the event this weekend'."

Ripon Motorsports Club, who organised the event which is also sponsored by Motoscope, met to try to find an alternative date to run the rally and made the following statement yesterday.

"Following the announcement that the Riponian Rally would not be running as scheduled on the 15th February, the organising team's first priority was to advise every competitor, marshal, landowner and other affected parties, before deciding on the next step. We have now decided to make every effort possible to reschedule the event within the next two months, and hope to make a formal announcement on when the event will take place by the end of next week.

"WATCH THIS SPACE. We thank all competitors and marshals for their understanding, and hope to see you all again in the very near future."

In the meantime, over a dozen historic cars had planned to take to the stages as part of the opening round but now, it could well be next month before round two takes place with the Robin Hood Historic Rally over the weekend of March 14-15.

"It's a shame that the first round of the championship had to be postponed, especially as it was looking to be a superb rally, considering the number of historic cars that had entered," said Championship co-ordinator Mark Casey.

"There was a good selection and it would have been great to see them in action. However it was not to be, but looking positively, we understand that the organisers are hoping to reschedule the event for a later date."

"Well what can I say?" added Series sponsor Richard Pocklington. "The announcement from the Forestry Commission is disappointing for all concerned especially as it was to be the opening round of the championship, attracting a high number of entries.

"It's a shame that my local event has had to be postponed, but Ripon Motorsport Club are making every effort possible to reschedule the event within the next two months."