Future of bike beach race still unclear

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 May 2011

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CONFUSION remains over the future of this year’s Weston’s motorcycle beach race – with the company behind the event unable to confirm whether it can meet the terms of its contract.

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 permit.

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), will still not give it 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 learnt from a professional source from within the motocross world that this has never been done and cannot happen.

When we tried to contact Events 22 managing director Matt Bates to ask if this was the case, he did not return our calls.

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 then the ACU. Again, the Mercury was unable to contact Mr Bates for a response to the claims.

North Somerset Council maintains its dedication to having a beach race this year, with the authority’s development and environment director David Turner saying this week: “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 would also arrange educational visits during its time in town. It is also looking at extending the fun into the evening with live music or similar entertainment to attract a wider audience.

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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