Eurosport’s Charlie Hiscott went in hard when questioning Gregorio Lavilla during the wet race debacle at Imola’s WorldSBK round on Sunday.
The veteran TV producer and sometime pitlane reporter has never been shy when it comes to asking the questions everyone wants the answer to and should be roundly applauded even when he goes ‘Double Paxman’ purely because someone has to find out what’s going on.
Of course, Hiscott’s very aggressive interrogation of Lavilla polarised opinion with keyboard warriors either supporting his efforts or vilifying the former Supersport racer for being way too hard on the series’ sporting director.
But with no-one actually making a decision on whether or not the WorldSBK grid should be sent into what was plainly a dangerous situation, Hiscott took it upon himself to find out who was supposed to make a decision and why it hadn’t been taken.
In British Superbikes, it is clear with whom the buck stops. Series and race director Stuart Higgs will have an idea of what to do - if he hadn’t already made a decision hours before with the sophisticated weather software he uses - he will usually then consult with riders and then decide on a solution.
At Imola, race director* Gianfranco Carloia was in the melee but left Lavilla - whose job it isn’t - to try and sort out the mess.
But it was a mess even our hotel receptionist knew was coming.
There was talk from early Friday morning about the deluge that had been forecast for Sunday’s race. Everyone knew it was going to happen and the veteran Italian journalists declared there would be no race if it rained hard because the track does not drain well.
After a wet morning warm-up but a quickly-drying track, would it not have made more sense to run the big 22-lap race at 11am for full points instead of leaving quite a decent crowd to sit there getting soaked before going home?
Hiscott was clearly frustrated by Lavilla’s lack of answers and even, after the heat of the moment, admitted that yes, he had been too aggressive but there are questions that need to be asked. And long may Hiscott keep asking them.
* As defined by the WorldSBK regulation glossary of terms:
The person responsible for ensuring that the rules are respected, and for ensuring that practice sessions and the race itself run smoothly.