BAFFLING RULES FOR UK TRACKS
On the whole, the Great British public has coped well with the restrictions and limitations that have been placed on it by those in power to help get through the disruptions of the health pandemic. Freedoms have been taken away at a stroke, and the light at the end of the tunnel seemed a long way away when lockdown three began in December. But there is some hope, and reason to be cheerful. The government’s roadmap to signpost us all out of the dark times has been welcomed, and the days are being ticked off until some form of normality can return.
However the latest advice, issued as MN closed for press last week, is an unnecessary and unwelcome hammer blow to this country’s motorsport venues. The news that crowds will not be allowed at non-elite sports – which encompasses national racing – until May 17 is not only disappointing, as MSV chiefs have pointed out, it is also unfathomable.
If you want to queue up and climb on to a roller coaster, then you may. If you want to go and tickle your taste buds at a food festival, you may do that too. But you will not be allowed to go to a track, standing well away from any other spectators in the vast acreage afforded by each circuit and enjoy motorsport. Compare the area available for spectating at a race track to a football stadium, for example. A race track is probably one of the perfect places to allow fans to return.
But no, those in Whitehall have either missed the point or shown that they don’t actually understand what national racing is. MSV and the other track operators in this country are desperate to get some kind of revenue stream back. They don’t run on fresh air, and there are still costs to be met even when the gates are locked. It is hard not to feel sorry for venue operators, who have probably been hit hardest of all by the extended period of inactivity.
Elsewhere in this issue, we catch up with the legendary boss of junior single-seater constructor Van Diemen, Ralph Firman. He is a man who has been at the heart of national racing since 1973 and is still turning his hand to fine-tuning Kent-engined machines.
Graham Brown catches up with Perry Cooke, which is a hard thing for his rivals to do on the short ovals as the young National Hot Rod star is forging quite a reputation. Luke Barry looks back over VW’s history in British rallying, while Jimmy Roberts is our guide as we explore the fan-friendly new-for-2022 Formula 1 regulations.