GREEN LIGHT FOR CLAS­SIC ROAD RACES

It’s the change in the law we’ve spent years wait­ing for – the chance to see clas­sics bat­tling on a street near you

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page -

Mo­tor­ing event or­gan­is­ers are now able to host mo­tor sport events on closed public roads. New rules that came into force on Mon­day mean that clas­sics are now able to race in closed-off town cen­tres and on his­toric street cir­cuits, and take part in sprints and hill climbs. Daniel Lackey of his­toric rac­ing spe­cial­ist CCK His­toric wel­comed the change as ‘ bril­liant news’ for clas­sic fans, and is look­ing for­ward to see­ing the first events to take ad­van­tage of the changes. He says: ‘ We need lo­cal ac­ces­si­ble mo­tor­sport events. Cir­cuit rac­ing is fi­nan­cially un­vi­able for a lot of peo­ple. Be­ing able to have small scale sprints and hill climbs is bril­liant for com­pa­nies and the lo­cal econ­omy.’

‘It’s bril­liant news – cir­cuit rac­ing is fi­nan­cially un­vi­able for many peo­ple’ DANIEL LACKEY, CCK HIS­TORIC

Pres­sure from clas­sic en­thu­si­asts and the Mo­tor Sports As­so­ci­a­tion (MSA) has paved the way for mo­tor sport’s re­turn to public roads.

Plus, clas­sic rac­ers are set to ben­e­fit from smaller, cheaper lo­cal events like sprints and hill­climbs.

These new rules came in to force on Mon­day 10 April. Pre­vi­ously, events ei­ther had to re­quest an in­di­vid­ual Act of Par­lia­ment, or agree to hold them on public roads as long as there wasn’t any rac­ing, or tim­ing.

Pri­mary leg­is­la­tion pro­vid­ing the frame­work for closed-road mo­tor­sport was passed in the 2015 Dereg­u­la­tion Act. The MSA has since worked closely with the Depart­ment for Trans­port (DfT) on the se­condary leg­is­la­tion re­quired to make this frame­work avail­able to event or­gan­is­ers.

The news was wel­comed by clas­sic rac­ing and restora­tion com­pany, CCK His­toric. Daniel Lackey says: ‘It’s bril­liant news. We need lo­cal ac­ces­si­ble mo­tor­sport events. Cir­cuit rac­ing is fi­nan­cially un­vi­able for a lot of peo­ple, and be­ing able

to have small scale sprints and hill climbs is bril­liant for com­pa­nies like us, and the lo­cal econ­omy.’

In­de­pen­dent re­search com­mis­sioned by the MSA and con­ducted by the Sport Re­search In­sti­tute at Sh­effield Hal­lam Univer­sity showed that lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties could gen­er­ate up to £40m of ad­di­tional rev­enue by clos­ing roads to host a lim­ited num­ber of mo­tor­sport events.

Rob Jones, MSA chief ex­ec­u­tive says: ‘This is a seis­mic shift for UK mo­tor­sport. We can now take mo­tor­sport to the peo­ple, and in turn those lo­cal host­ing com­mu­ni­ties have the op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from the eco­nomic boost that these events may pro­vide.’

Trans­port Min­is­ter Andrew Jones adds: ‘New road races will boost lo­cal economies through in­creased tourism and hospi­tal­ity, and of­fer com­mu­nity op­por­tu­ni­ties such as vol­un­teer­ing.’

Ten­dring District Coun­cil in Es­sex has been the first lo­cal author­ity to de­clare an in­ter­est in hold­ing a closed road race in its district – al­though it doesn’t know what type of race it would like to hold.

Other ad­vo­cates of the de­ci­sion in­clude Nigel Mansell CBE, 1992 F1 world cham­pion. He says: ‘I am de­lighted that this gov­ern­ment is em­brac­ing mo­tor­sport, which will as­sist the UK’s world-lead­ing po­si­tion and im­prove the sport’s abil­ity to help pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties and fo­cus for young peo­ple.’

How­ever, the MSA has come un­der crit­i­cism from smaller events. Or­gan­is­ers claim it is still go­ing to be too tough to or­gan­ise. Quentin Nicholls is the course direc­tor of the Oun­dle Clas­sic Sprint. The sprint started in 2014 and was closed in 2016 be­cause of red tape. He says: ‘Health and safety will still be an is­sue. Be­cause in re­al­ity you’ve still got to keep peo­ple away from ve­hi­cles. And of course, in­sur­ance is still an is­sue. You need an enor­mous amount of bloody mind­ed­ness to or­gan­ise an event like this. We don’t know whether we’ll start run­ning again.’ Mur­ray Scul­lion

Closed-road events like the Oun­dle Clas­sic Sprint have pre­vi­ously had to ne­go­ti­ate a red-tape mine­field to hold clas­sic closed road mo­tor­sport events.

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