Race to get permit for five-day event

ORGANISERS behind this year’s Weston beach race vow the event will definitely go ahead - despite problems with them getting a permit for it.

Events 22 is planning a new-look five-day beach race with marquees and stalls on the Beach Lawns, evening entertainment, indoor arenas and lower ticket prices this October.

But the Mercury can exclusively reveal that it is having difficulty getting a permit for the event.

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), has refused to give it a permit, saying its loyalties lie with previous race organiser, Gareth Hockey, who is planning to stage an event elsewhere in the country the very same weekend as the Weston one.

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Events 22, the organiser behind the likes of the Red Bull seven-venue motocross events in the UK was givenpermission 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 on the Beach Lawns with arenas from October 5-9, as well as interactive areas, stalls and educational visits during its time in town. It is also looking at extending the fun into the evening with live music or similar entertainment for a wider-ranging audience.

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But when the Mercury spoke to ACU this week the organisation said it was standing its ground and would not grant a permit for the event, leaving Events 22 with limited options.

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

Events 22 managing director Matt Bates said: “We are working closely with ACU to try and get a permit for this year.

“We have staged many events with the organisation, but we do have the potential option of going straight to the FIM, but this is long-winded.

“We are going ahead with this event and it is potentially the biggest off-road event of the year. If we have to jump through a few hoops we will.”

Council development and environment director David Turner said: “We are hopeful Events 22 will resolve this issue and get the necessary permit.

“We believe the event will help towards the future development of Weston.”

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