MATT AMES

THE VOICE OF NA­TIONAL RAC­ING

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

An­other New Year’s Day, and it was an­other trip to Plough Lane to watch stock car rac­ing at Wim­ble­don Sta­dium for me.

I re­ported at the end of last sea­son that there were some very real con­cerns over the fu­ture of the venue. Sadly, just be­fore Christ­mas, those con­cerns were re­alised.

As re­ported in Mo­tor­sport News, plans were pushed through to de­mol­ish the sta­dium and build flats and a new 11,000 all-seater sta­dium to house AFC Wim­ble­don in early De­cem­ber.

No time­frame has been set for the de­vel­op­ment to com­mence but time is press­ing if mo­tor­sport is to keep one of its most cher­ished venues.

Sup­port­ers of the sta­dium have started a pe­ti­tion to alert higher political pow­ers – in­clud­ing Lon­don mayor Boris John­son, who has the au­thor­ity to re­view the de­ci­sion – that there is a fan base for the sta­dium and the sport in south-west Lon­don. The sup­port­ers feel they weren’t taken in to ac­count when the orig­i­nal plan­ning per­mis­sion was pushed through. They want their voice to be heard, and rightly so.

Al­though Wim­ble­don is only one venue, it could be the thin end of the wedge, par­tic­u­larly for short oval rac­ing. Re­mem­ber, it is a sport that has pro­duced so many stars that have gone on to huge suc­cess, in­clud­ing the likes of Martin Brun­dle, Derek War­wick and Nick Tandy.

You can read how to sup­port the on­line pe­ti­tion on the Sport­ing Scene news page ( p29). It is im­por­tant that peo­ple do be­cause Wim­ble­don has a huge part to play in the his­tory of mo­tor­sport.

But, per­haps, more im­por­tantly than that, it is vi­tal to show the pow­ers that be mo­tor­sport fans will not just sit qui­etly while th­ese ar­rows are be­ing re­lent­lessly fired at our sport.

The mo­tor­sport in­dus­try in this coun­try is mas­sive and it has been ac­knowl­edged at the very high­est political level. But the high pro­file side of the sport, recog­nised by Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron, is only the tip of the ice­berg. It is propped up and sup­ported by a net­work of en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­nies, busi­nesses, com­peti­tors, venues and sup­pli­ers – which, if you to­taled up their in­put into the econ­omy as a whole, would prob­a­bly out­strip that pro­vided by the sup­pos­edly more im­por­tant cat­e­gories.

If you are a mo­tor­sport fan, and even if you don’t have much in­ter­est in short oval rac­ing, sign­ing this pe­ti­tion and show­ing sup­port is a sig­nal of how im­por­tant th­ese places are to the very fab­ric of our sport. That is some­thing that should be easy for any fan to un­der­stand.

JAMES “Th­ese places are the fab­ric of our sport”

Stock car rac­ing at Wim­ble­don is un­der threat

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