Council denies any EU law breaking

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 June 2011

NORTH Somerset Council has denied breaking EU laws over the Weston Beach Race saga.

The event was retendered following months of uncertainty over whether chosen organiser, Events 22, could meet its contractual obligations.

Previous race organiser, Gareth Hockey, of RHL Activities, has accused the council of breaking EU laws over the tender process, by removing from the new agreement the one condition Events 22 has been unable to meet.

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.

But North Somerset Council says it is simply making sure things are fair for all bidders and opening the opportunity to run the event to a wider market.

Mr Hockey has argued that the retender process has lacked transparency and that the correct route would have been to award the contract to the next best applicant, which was him.

North Somerset Council says RHL Activities failed to provide evidence that they would see a permit from the FIM or an associated body for the event, something Mr Hockey denies.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “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.

Tenders needed to be submitted to the council by Monday.

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