Road racing gloom lifted as 2021 Gold Cup takes step forward

| | TT and Roads

louds of gloom and despondency which have permeated road racing for more than a year are at last being pierced by shafts of sunlight, the latest being that the Gold Cup at Scarborough, scheduled for September 18/19, is likely to go ahead.

It follows news from the Isle of Wight that they are determined to hold their event in April next year; an upbeat statement from TT chief Paul Phillips concerning its future; and the recent highly populated event at Armoy starring Michael Dunlop.

A statement from Scarborough promoter Andy Hayes confirmed that, following discussions with the local authority and ACU’s Gary Thompson, he was now planning to go ahead with the changes necessary, some of them temporary, to make the facilities fit within the rules.

The statement outlined the severity of the problems caused by years of heavy rain undermining the building foundations which now required their demolition, the relocation of electrical supplies and rebuilding of retaining walls.

It continued: “All parties are fully committed to running the Hillclimb on 11/12 September and the Michelin Gold Cup on 18/19 September, if they can be held in a safe manner… but there will remain a degree of risk.

“But be assured that in the unlikely even these do not go ahead, 100 per cent refunds will be immediately available to all entrants and ticket holders. The support from Scarborough Borough Council has been fantastic and their commitment to ensuring Oliver’s Mount continues long into the future is very clear to see and greatly reassuring.”

Talking to bikesportnews.com, Hayes said: “Overall it is good news regards the Gold Cup and the Hillclimb but there is still a lot of work to do. We are going to have to bring in temporary toilets, showers and some catering vans and a portacabin.

“Fortunately, nwe still keep the control tower so, by and large, we are ok. We are having to fence off some area of the paddock, which wasn’t big anyway, so we are going to be relying on the teams to occupy a smaller footprint.

“We have sent a message to club members but today we will be opening it to a larger selection of riders so that anybody can submit an entry by the closing date which is a week on Sunday. And this should be a positive sign to everybody.

“A greater positive is that we have been assured of support by the council. It’s a big morale booster because if you thought that you were doing this and they weren’t bothered it would be a huge uphill battle.”

The sudden cancellation of the majority of this year’s meetings as a result of the local inspectorate condemning many of the buildings came as a shock after many years of control by Peter Hillaby when nothing of that nature was questioned.

One of the areas which will be fenced off is the toilet and shower block in the paddock which, it was discovered, had the cesspit located directly underneath. Plans are to replace it entirely during the winter - a long and complicated job.

“I am very positive about the Gold Cup but, of course, I can’t guarantee everything. There are a lot of things to do, a lot of hoops to jump through but we are working extremely closely with the council and I have high levels of confidence we are going on to achieve it. But like anything else in life I can’t give a 100 per cent guarantee - there could be an earthquake the day before,” he said.

Much further south there has been much hoop jumping but a team now lead by islander and former racing driver James Kaye is planning the Isle of Wight Road Races - the previous plan and title having been abandoned - to run between April 20-23 next year.

It will however use the original 12.4-mile Chale course and is currently undergoing a six-week public consultation process to explain format, timings and impact of the event to residents or businesses close to the course.

“The IWRR will be an elite-level motorcycle racing spectacle that will attract many of the sport’s top riders and teams. It is planned to be a showcase for British motor sport as well as a proving ground for sustainable biofuels. The Isle of Wight is an ideal location fo us to pioneer the use carbon neutral fuels that are less harmful to ur environment,” said Kaye.

“Our Biosphere status encourages us all to learn new ways in which we can live on our diverse and ecologically important island. The IWRR will be at the forefront of promoting future energy technology.”

However, their efforts to get the locals onside is meeting some opposition. A headline on the Isle of Wight radio website read ‘Brightstone Parish Council Slams Isle of Wight Road Races’ describing the consultation process as a public relations effort.
Councillor Nick Stuart described it as “lackadaisical” and an attempt to obscure what they were really doing while Chairman John Cirrone said: “There has been a complete lack of willingness to distribute properly enough information so everyone is aware of what is proposed.”

The consultation process, which began on August 1, is continuing. The organisers are being advised by the ACU on track safety and what changes to be funded by them, including the removal of cats’ eyes, will be required. A traffic plan is also being produced to deal with crowds of up to 30,000.