The National MicroCar Rally

Britain's biggest Microcar event

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Organising a National MicroCar Rally

Hints and tips on how to go about it

The following guidance notes have been gathered together as a result of a considerable collective experience of organising the National Microcar Rally; we hope that you give them some consideration and find them useful.

  1. Why am I organising the Rally?
    The NMCR is an institution in the microcar events calendar; it has a long history and has been organised with varying degrees of success in several venues around the country. You need to bear in mind that you are doing it solely for the benefit of the microcar enthusiasts and not for any personal glory or the glory of your particular club. You are providing a forum and framework for the various microcar clubs and interested individuals to take part; it is their Rally. You can expect some criticism, not a lot of thanks, but a great feeling of satisfaction and achievement on the Sunday evening when all have gone home!
  2. Who is going to help me?
    This is in many ways a crucial decision. Experience shows that the least stressful way is for two or three people, close friends, partners or husband & wife to work together on the basic organisation with backup from club members and friends over the Rally period itself. Large organising committees are unnecessary, unwieldy, and difficult to keep to deadlines and often more trouble than they are worth; one is trying to organise a rally not a committee! Certainly one person needs to have an overview and an understanding of what is going on.
  3. What about money?
    Over the years the NMCR has built up a fund to provide money for the 'up front' needs of organisers who should not need to use their own resources nor those of their club to pay for any part of the costs. The Rally is not expected to make a profit for the organiser. It is not a commercial event. The organiser should aim to cover the cost of the rally, to repay the fund and if possible make a modest surplus to ensure that the following year's Rally is on a sound financial footing. The Fund is safeguarded by three Administrators, who should be consulted at an early stage in the planning as they can outline funds available etc. Much of this can come from camping fees and admission to the Rally field on the Sunday, also from selling space on the field to micro-jumblers/club stands and appropriate trade stands. Bear in mind that it is their Rally and charges should not be excessive.  However, you should aim to cover the costs by basing the charges on attendance figures of 100 camping units and the attendance of  'members of the public' through the gates on the Sunday. These are fairly conservative figures so that any increases will give a small surplus to swell the Rally Fund.

    Other sources of income could be from local business sponsorship, advertising on the field or in the programme, snack van concession etc. Sometimes a company will provide some of their products which can be used for supplementary prizes.
    Use your discretion, a commercial company will make money by attending the Rally so should be charged more for space than the Club stands and micro jumblers.
    If the venue is associated with a commercial campsite, perhaps a block-booking price can be agreed so that a small premium can be added but a saving could be made by not needing toilet hire!
    Remember too that it is customary to allow participants who bring a Microcar a substantial discount on the entry to the Rally field on Sunday, if they haven't already pre-paid along with the camping charge.
    If in doubt consult the three administrators, they are there to help you.

    The costs will probably comprise the following:-
    • Hire of the Rally site. This may be free or at a nominal level if tied in with a Stately Home or some similar attraction; you are bringing in extra visitors and providing an additional 'attraction' for them. They will wish to charge their usual admission; can you negotiate a discount for participants with microcars and a weekend pass?
    • Public Liability Insurance. This is essential; you could be in serious trouble without it if anything goes wrong. Cover for the rally period is usually quite reasonable if you assure the company that no competitive racing type activities will take place and that speeds are restricted on site. Only qualified, insured drivers should be allowed to drive on site, this should be clearly stated in the programme and on any entry slip etc. The Trustees can advise on Insurance.
    • Hire of toilets etc. Adequate toilet provision is essential but luxury trailers can be very expensive. Motorhomes and caravans generally have their own facilities; three or four Portaloos are adequate for tenters and for use on the Sunday especially if the hire company can service them on the Saturday evening. Shower units are a very expensive and unnecessary luxury for such a short period. Shop around; there may be quite a variation in prices.
    • Printing and paperwork costs. These can sometimes be reduced by seeking sponsorship for the Programme. Perhaps a 'sympathetic' employer will help with photocopying facilities?
    • Commemorative ‘gift’and prizes. It is customary to present everyone who brings a microcar to the Rally with a commemorative ‘gift’; you will need to design this and arrange for its manufacture. You will need 200 to be sure of enough; any surplus can be sold on the Sunday afternoon to recover some of the cost. Again it may be possible to get a local company to sponsor the gifts. These ‘gifts’ are normally included in a rally pack along with a programme of events, road run instructions, places of interest around the local area etc. It has been found from experience that individual prizes for concourse etc for each make of micro car are best provided by individual one-make clubs. Fund administrators will provide trophies for 'Plastic car', ‘Metal car’, ‘People’s Choice' , 'Concours de Grot' and the 'Longest distance award' for both UK and Europe
    • Phone calls and travelling (petrol) expenses. Keep a fair record, and receipts if possible.
    Other items of expenditure need to be considered carefully. Providing a 'free' attraction may seem like a good idea but it could prove costly to the Fund, e.g. a barbecue. By all means have one, but let the participants bring their own food and cook it on your charcoal! Can participating Clubs be persuaded to lay something on for free?
  4. Where can I hold the Rally?
    Choice of venue is very important as it dictates the nature of the Rally and the all important 'atmosphere'. It must be fairly central and have easy access from motorways and all parts of Britain. As a minimum you will need a large level field with space for an events ring, with room for Club Stands, micro-jumble stands and possibly catering vans located around this area. There must be plenty of space for camping and good access for large motorhomes! There must be adequate toilet facilities. You will need to be able to control access to the field in order to collect the camping fees and admission on the Sunday. You will need to liaise closely with the owners of the land, try to work with one person if the site is a stately home, wildlife park etc. Negotiate a fee (if any) and be clear at the outset what they will (can) provide and what you will need to source yourself.
  5. How long will it take?
    It may be assumed that by the time you volunteer to organise the Rally at the post-Rally meeting in October/November, you will already have a venue in mind and indeed may be quite familiar with it. We would still advise that you follow the checklist with a formal meeting with the owners on site for a thorough appraisal. Initial communication with the Clubs should take place as soon as possible, as there is often a lead time in magazine production and everyone needs to know the date of the Rally (traditionally the first or second weekend in September) in good time to arrange their diaries. In early May, the Club magazine editors need a page (A4) to insert in their magazines detailing the date, location, admission and camping charges etc. Devising a Treasure Hunt or a run out for the Rally can be done quite early on as it is time-consuming and will need to be printed up. Similarly the programme can be assembled and printed in July and the ‘commemorative gifts’ ordered and collected. The days of the Rally will be very busy for you so try to arrive early - preferably the day before, with your assistants, so that most of the features of the field /campsite are ready when the first participants arrive (usually around midday). Try to delegate tasks clearly to reliable helpers so that you can be free and available at the Control point to answer questions and take decisions on the spot as required.
  6. And after the Rally?
    After the prize-giving and as people are packing up, make certain that you have all the collected cash in a safe place; you can 'do the sums' there and then or leave to the following week; you may need to pay the venue owners before you leave. Make certain that all equipment used is collected in and if borrowed returned to its owners.  Signs, clipboards, etc borrowed from the administrators could be returned at the post-Rally meeting.  Draw up a simple balance sheet for the Administrators and pass on any monies. A date (October/early November) and venue (at a suitable hostelry/village hall/community centre) for the post-Rally meeting will be arranged by the Fund Administrators earlier in the year and will be advertised in the Club magazines.

Lastly, relax, enjoy the glow of satisfaction from a job well done and start planning the next one!