MATT AMES

JAMES “UK cir­cuits are fac­ing an up­hill bat­tle”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

The tale of Ly­d­den Hill’s cur­rent strug­gles, as you can read in Mo­tor­sport News’s spe­cial fea­ture on page 26, are a grim marker for mo­tor rac­ing in this coun­try. There are lots of sto­ries about mo­tor rac­ing cir­cuits strug­gling with noise prob­lems. It’s hap­pened at vir­tu­ally ev­ery track you can think of in the United King­dom – even at the home of the Bri­tish Grand Prix, Sil­ver­stone. For the mo­tor sport fan, it is per­plex­ing. Th­ese is­sues have only re­ally come to light over the last 15 years. Be­fore that, peo­ple who moved close to a mo­tor rac­ing cir­cuit ex­pected noise ev­ery other Sun­day.

That is the na­ture of what hap­pens at a mo­tor rac­ing cir­cuit and if a home owner hadn’t done their due dili­gence be­fore mov­ing in to a new abode well, that was their prob­lem.

But there is a change in pub­lic at­ti­tudes th­ese days. Ev­ery­one seem­ingly has a right to com­plain, but the wor­ry­ing thing is that coun­cils and au­thor­i­ties are giv­ing th­ese peo­ple oxy­gen and are giv­ing trac­tion to com­plaints.

I re­cently heard a story from some­one high up in the Bri­tish Au­to­mo­bile Rac­ing Club, which has been at the heart of sev­eral of th­ese fights. A res­i­dent had com­plained about the noise em­a­nat­ing from the Pem­brey cir­cuit in South Wales. The coun­cil took it very se­ri­ously, and sent out a noise in­spec­tor to take read­ings from the gar­den of the af­fected prop­erty.

When the coun­cil of­fi­cial re­turned to check the read­ings from the mon­i­tor, he was un­able to get an ac­cu­rate read­ing be­cause the sound of the bab­bling brook at the bot­tom of their gar­den was too loud. And I am not jok­ing.

Ly­d­den Hill is a real gem in the mo­tor rac­ing land­scape, and the work the venue and its or­gan­is­ers have done to pro­tect and pro­mote rac­ing, and in par­tic­u­lar ral­ly­cross, in this coun­try has been vi­tal. For them now to have to bat­tle red tape is in­fu­ri­at­ing.

Look at the strug­gle Wim­ble­don Sta­dium is fac­ing too: while that is noth­ing to do with noise, it is yet an­other trou­bling sit­u­a­tion. Mo­tor rac­ing doesn’t seem to fea­ture on any coun­cil’s agenda as a valu­able as­set to the com­mu­nity and that is an at­ti­tude that needs to change. A cir­cuit, and the as­so­ci­ated events it hosts, brings in fi­nance to a lo­cal area. Mo­tor rac­ing is an as­set that re­gional au­thories need to trea­sure, rather than seek­ing to slap it down at any op­por­tu­nity. How many more blows can mo­tor­sport take?

THE VOICE OF NA­TIONAL RAC­ING

Ly­d­den Hill is hugely pop­u­lar with race fans

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