A Manx-style TT-road race series planned for August in Mid Wales has been called off.
The all-new Welsh Road Race event was announced at the bike show last autumn but has been beset with difficulties and the UK body which has to approve such racing said the organisers have failed to meet a strict list of safety and administrative requirements.
In a statement, the WRR blamed the cancellation of the event due 3-5 August on last week’s change in Welsh law which would permit motor-sport on public roads closed for competition. But this is thought by observers to be a smokescreen because the proposed meeting would be held on MoD training land at Epynt which can be closed at any time by them and there are said to be differences of opinion over the event.
News of the event since last autumn created excitement in the racing fraternity and advance ticket sales were progressing while accommodation providers were also taking bookings.
Now ticket sales refunds and lost business to hotels and b&b operators will begin to be felt. Those who booked with credit cards should be fully protected but cancellation terms with businesses may mean some enthusiasts will be left paying charges despite not seeing any racing.
The cancellation was reported by Motorcycle News after rumours emerged at the end of last week.
Confirming the news, a statement from the Welsh Road Race blamed a revision to the Road Traffic Act in Wales for the complications.
“We are working closely with the ACU, Crown Properties and Powys County Council to organise the Welsh Road Race, and under the new changes in legislation, the new deadlines that have been imposed, will make it very difficult to carry out a safe and successful event,” said Derek Smith, Managing Director of the Welsh Road Race.”
Paul King, Chairman of the ACU Road Race Committee added, “Following concerns raised with the Auto Cycle Union at the end of the year about the proposed Welsh Road Race in August 2018, Members of the ACU Road Race Committee recently met with the event organisers, to understand what was being proposed and what was required for the event to progress.
“In order for the ACU Road Race Committee to sanction the event, a list of requirements required from the Organisers was agreed. It would appear that the timetable to achieve the event for 2018 cannot be achieved.
“The ACU Road Race Committee will endeavour to assist the organisers in progressing the event for 2019.”
The event was due to take place on a 5.25 mile circuit over the Epynt military ranges owned by the MoD and closed for motor sport events and the course was used for motorcycle racing from 1948 to 1954.
The reborn project was the brainchild of Derek Smith, Chariman of Aberdare Park and General Secretary of the East South Wales ACU, and Phil Morris, a racing team manager and owner of Owestry Road Racing Museum. Ex-BSB and TT race winner Steve Plater was also involved in the project, said MCN.
Early press information claimed 23-time TT winner John McGuinness had expressed an interest in racing in the event, but it was later revealed that this was not the case. Similarly, claims that ACU General Secretary and Isle of Man TT Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson was set to take on a similar role for the Welsh race were also dismissed, reported Motorcycle News.
Since November, organisers have been selling tickets for the event online. That ticket page has recently been suspended, citing a ‘temporary fault’ with the ticketing system. Those who have bought tickets will receive an email with details on how to claim a refund, said the sporting paper.
News of the cancelled event this year came nine months after failure of Circuit of Wales plans to create a motorcycle and car racing complex near Ebbw Vale and its promotors owe over £2.1 Million to creditors.
Meanwhile, the booming Pembrey Circuit near Kidwelly has a full programme of car, bike and truck racing this year and gets no Welsh Government aid.