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GP Week : Issue 49
>>GPWEEKOPINION Going solo? Six, five, four, three .... soon MotoGP will be the only bike World Championship. A couple of years later Dorna instituted a MotoGP-only VIP entertainment area within the paddock, further diminishing their status. This VIP area is most-times like a ghost town, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Now the pure-bred 250s have been killed – more an assisted suicide than murder, thanks to Aprilia’s crippling financial stranglehold. In its place, production-based control engines will power the dumbed-down Moto2 class. Looks like it will be good racing. But purists deride the title World Championship for a one-make series. This must be music to Dorna’s ears. If Moto2 is demoted to become an International Cup, all the better for the status of MotoGP. Something similar is in store for the 125s, the last remaining class from the original 1949 championship table. A single supreme World Champion will then reign; MotoGP will be like F1. Plenty has already been lost: the easy camaraderie of the mixed-up old paddock for one. Also the uniqueness of bike racing, contested at the highest level but over the broadest spectrum. Never mind. Because it’s all come a little bit late. Valentino Rossi has already reached beyond the barriers into the hearts of the general public, and has already promoted MotoGP. This was achieved not because of messing with the racing classes, but by the invincible power of personality plus talent. Now the question is this: Will the restructuring be enough to maintain public interest when Rossi goes? delays reaching crisis point Officials need to reserve holiday times from their regular jobs: professional teams need to make specialist staff available and have now been stung by exorbitant demands for non-refundable hotel reservation deposits. Privateer competitors lost faith two years ago with the organisers because they were forced to wait for hours during the event because of sideshows inside the Millennium stadium. It is now several years since the event’s policy of charging very high admission prices caused a major breakdown of faith with fans. The FIA’s involvement with this affair is through the British ASN, the MSA. Morrie Chandler, President of the FIA’s World Rally Championship Commission explained: “The ASN is the party responsible for ensuring the event on the World Championship calendar is held. If there is any problem, the FIA needs to be warned. “At the moment the FIA are aware of problems but have been given assurances the event will take place in accordance with the ASN’s undertakings to the FIA. "If it does not take place, there will be potential financial penalties and of course a risk of relying on assurances that other international events in that country would take place. There is no deadline for action – we are assuming the event is going ahead”. It is an emotive issue all round. The ‘RAC Rally’ is perceived to be a heritage of people in the sport. The strength of the event is the hard work and goodwill of countless unpaid enthusiasts, not only the balance sheet of the event’s accountants. The event is not, as the IMS seems to think, a commercial take-it-or-leave-it; it is a major factor in the lives of enthusiasts. The IMS are not, as they imagine, merely promoters. They are trustees of this heritage. Outsiders believe the problems are self inflicted by the IMS, and if the rally had been efficiently managed over the years, cancellation of the 2009 event on financial grounds would never be necessary. Outsiders are not interested in hiccups between the IMS and the Welsh authorities so why hang their emotions out to dry? And one other thing seems sure. If the IMS cannot categorically assure the WMSC on June 24 that event goes ahead as planned, if called upon to do so, we can expect the FIA to decide that it won’t be run at all. And that in turn will create no end of consequences all-round for British motorsport … 25