Like hundreds of thousands of motorsport enthusiasts, I have fond memories of standing in muddy Welsh forests watching rally cars blaze past.

This week, the future of forest stage rallying is vulnerable to a severe body blow that could prove fatal to the sport’s future in Wales.

The forest rallies are predominantly held on gravel tracks on land administered by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), which is a Welsh Government agency.

To save each rally organiser the hassle of having to negotiate hire of the tracks with NRW, the Motor Sports Association strikes a ‘Master Agreement’ that sets the price of accessing the forests for all events.

The previous Master Agreement expired in December 2015 and the MSA forged new agreements with the bodies controlling the forests in England and Scotland.

The NRW, however, has tried to negotiate a deal that it regards as more favourable, and it is one that could kill forest rallying in Wales.

Rally cars wearing knobbly gravel tyres disperse the gravel on the tracks and occasionally cause potholes to appear in the surface. In 2015, the MSA paid a total of £339,000 to the NRW for road repairs in the Welsh forests.