Beach race - more doubts are raised

PUBLISHED: 10:22 19 May 2011

FURTHER doubt has been cast over the future of this year’s Weston beach race – with the international motocross governing body saying it cannot recognise the event as things stand.

Last month the Mercury revealed how Events 22 vowed to go ahead with the planned five-day enduro, despite problems with the firm getting the necessary paperwork.

When the company originally tendered for the beach race last year it was told it would have to be recognised by motocross governing body the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM).

But its only affiliated member in Britain, the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU), is refusing to give the event a permit, saying its loyalties lie with previous race organiser Gareth Hockey, who is planning an event in Swansea over the same weekend as the Weston one.

Events 22 said it could still go directly to the FIM for a permit, but this week the Mercury has had confirmation from the FIM that it cannot recognise the event without the go-ahead from the ACU.

An FIM spokesman said: “FIM only gives licences upon national motorcycling federations’ request.”

Last week a motocross insider told the Mercury it is not possible to bypass the ACU and the Mercury has been unable to contact Events 22 managing director Matt Bates over the past two weeks to seek reassurances that the event is on-track. The Mercury also understands that Mr Bates is planning on using the MC Federation, a company partly established by him, to support the event rather than the ACU. Again, the Mercury was unable to contact Mr Bates for a response to the claims.

North Somerset Council insists that a beach race will still go ahead this year in Weston, with development and environment director David Turner saying: “I am absolutely clear that we will be supporting a motorcycle beach race event in Weston this autumn and all our actions will be geared to make this materialise.”

Events 22, the organiser behind the likes of the Red Bull seven-venue motocross events in the UK, was given permission by North Somerset Council to host the race on the beach for three years, with an option to extend it to five.

The firm wants to set up big marquees and arenas, interactive areas and stalls on the Beach Lawns from October 5-9.

The company, established for 12 years in Oxfordshire, was chosen by North Somerset Council from three bidders following a competitive tendering process.

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