Beach race re-run has removed vital proviso
PUBLISHED: 13:30 02 June 2011
NORTH Somerset Council has removed a condition in the contract for this year's Weston beach race that was previously considered vital for public safety.
The event has been retendered following months of uncertainty over whether chosen organiser, Events 22, could meet its contractual obligations.
Earlier this year the Mercury revealed how the company vowed to go ahead with the planned five-day enduro, despite problems securing 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), refused 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.
The council has now retendered the event with a two-week window for applications - and removed the need for the chosen bidder to be recognised by the FIM or ACU.
That is despite a statement released last week by North Somerset Council executive member for tourism, Felicity Baker, stating how important the council viewed the condition in the first place.
She said the reason it was specified was to ensure that the event is run in a safe and proper manner and to make sure that spectators and participants are as safe as possible.
Councillor Baker added: “We have decided to retender and to ensure fair treatment of all possible bidders we are revising the requirement about the running of the event.
“Instead of restricting this to bodies affiliated to the FIM, the requirement will apply to any appropriate recognised motorcycle body.
“This opens the opportunity to run the event to a wider market while ensuring that the organiser provides a safe and enjoyable event.
“We recognise that this is a prestige event with participants and spectators coming from far and wide bringing considerable financial benefits to the area and we are committed to supporting an event on the beach this October.”
Events 22 managing director, Matt Bates, runs the MC Federation, which is a recognised motorcycle body and could be used in place of the ACU.
North Somerset Council insists that a beach race will still go ahead this year in Weston.