This year should mark the 89th anniversary of Rally GB, Britain's round of the World Rally Championship, since its inception. Only ever in times of world war or national disaster has it been missed, including the 2020 running of the event. We of course remain in the midst of a global pandemic, which does tend to put matters in perspective to a degree, but its absence for a second year in a row - with the news that the 2021 event will be replaced by Belgium's Rally Ypres - is not one of COVID-19's making. It is one of politics.
Would we be in this position if the FA Cup or even Crufts were in a similar pickle to that of the UK's national rally? It's hard to imagine prime minister Boris Johnson not lolloping to the rescue of any great British institution, beaming back at a grateful nation to announce that their pastime is 'coming home'.
Motorsport UK, which presides over the event and is working on its return for 2022, is of course making suitable noises about the economic backdrop left by the pandemic. But while it is understandable that the governing body doesn't want to play the blame game, the government is currently throwing tens of millions at places of leisure and entertainment to tide them over. The process is at best like pinning the tail on a donkey.