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Would UK street circuit give a boost to domestic racing?


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#1 TimRTC

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 22:02

Reading the discussion of the London GP plans, I agree with Autosport's dismissal of the proposal, but I do wonder if a street race in the UK might not be a bad idea - not for F1, which I agree, is perfectly well promoted in the country, but for one of the domestic series - either the BTCC/TOCA or the F3/GT.

Although the BTCC does have good television coverage, it is still completely ignored by most mainstream media while the F3/GT gets a measly highlights package on free-to-air television and is even more ignored. With both series seeing drivers forced to pull out due to sponsorship issues, particularly in the support races, a real shot in the arm would be more than welcome and I have no doubt that a street race in a big city could not help but get media coverage.

Now London, the choice of the recent F1 proposal is, in my view, a waste of time - fans in London already have easy access to Silverstone, Brands Hatch and many other good circuits that host high level race meetings. I would propose that a good location for a street race in the UK would be in Scotland - either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Despite providing so many great drivers, Scotland is poorly served by race meetings and there is a big potential market - both cities are readily accessible and Glasgow in particular is always keen on a tourism boost. Street races are quite common in Europe but currently banned in the UK by a vintage Act of Parliament - one advantage of a well promoted Scottish race is that the Scottish Parliament would be far more motivated to permit such an event than London would considering the comparative local economic boost it could bring, particularly if a well designed circuit could attract more international race series in future years.

Obviously there are issues concerning the locating and preparation of a circuit for a street race and there are many street races that can provide very dull racing, but with the motivation to do so, such problems are surely not insurmountable.

Thoughts?



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#2 spacekid

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 22:18

This is a very intriguing proposition with one huge problem - where's the money coming from?

F1 generates by far the most revenue of any racing series in the UK. Putting a street race on anywhere is expensive - the modifications to street furniture and road closures would be costly for businesses and cause uwelcome disruption. I actually think such an event would be very unpopular in the host town. And if it isn't F1 would the TV revenue stack up to much? I just don't think you would find the money or political will to put such an event on.

#3 Fastcake

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 22:24

Well to be honest I really doubt any major city in the UK would want to go through the disruption of closing down for a weekend a year - even for a F1 race.

What benefit is there for the city? Presuming that only the larger areas will be suitable to host one, you are looking at closing off central parts of a city (as I doubt any race organisers would want to head through housing estates and back alleys) which will have costs in disrupting the regular trade, spending time fighting the inevitable legal battles to stop a race taking place, and putting off potential visitors that have no interest in watching racing (and for fixing all the damage Plato would make...). There will be an influx of visitors for a race yes, but for only a national level series it probably won't be large - perhaps smaller than at a race track too as street circuits tend to offer a poorer viewing experience. After that there's no guarantee that the visitors will be enough to offset the people turned away and the costs involved - as you said the BTCC while popular in the motorsports world is still a low-key event.

With F1 street races are meant to show off the host city as a location to the entire world and boost visitor numbers throughout the year, which is partly why the London GP is rubbish as London hardly needs any more advertising. I can't see that working for a series like BTCC or F3 - the audience is not large enough and largely British anyway.

What I could see working perhaps is a short one-off race. You could then get away with cutting corners on the track, instead of spending money to prepare for multiple races over a weekend every year. Perhaps that could be more acceptable to a city and businesses for a one-off, while giving a benefit to the series as well.

Edited by Fastcake, 09 July 2012 - 22:33.


#4 garoidb

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 22:29

Reading the discussion of the London GP plans, I agree with Autosport's dismissal of the proposal, but I do wonder if a street race in the UK might not be a bad idea - not for F1, which I agree, is perfectly well promoted in the country, but for one of the domestic series - either the BTCC/TOCA or the F3/GT.

Although the BTCC does have good television coverage, it is still completely ignored by most mainstream media while the F3/GT gets a measly highlights package on free-to-air television and is even more ignored. With both series seeing drivers forced to pull out due to sponsorship issues, particularly in the support races, a real shot in the arm would be more than welcome and I have no doubt that a street race in a big city could not help but get media coverage.

Now London, the choice of the recent F1 proposal is, in my view, a waste of time - fans in London already have easy access to Silverstone, Brands Hatch and many other good circuits that host high level race meetings. I would propose that a good location for a street race in the UK would be in Scotland - either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Despite providing so many great drivers, Scotland is poorly served by race meetings and there is a big potential market - both cities are readily accessible and Glasgow in particular is always keen on a tourism boost. Street races are quite common in Europe but currently banned in the UK by a vintage Act of Parliament - one advantage of a well promoted Scottish race is that the Scottish Parliament would be far more motivated to permit such an event than London would considering the comparative local economic boost it could bring, particularly if a well designed circuit could attract more international race series in future years.

Obviously there are issues concerning the locating and preparation of a circuit for a street race and there are many street races that can provide very dull racing, but with the motivation to do so, such problems are surely not insurmountable.

Thoughts?


Remember the Birmingham Super Prix, part of the F3000 championship. I wonder why it did not succeed long term?


#5 spacekid

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 22:39

Well I never. I would never have believed that such a thing had happened in the UK as recently, but here it is!!



This is brilliant and should happen again. Its like a very low budget monaco.

I still don't think its feasible, but if it could be done in the 1980's why not now? I know there's a reason, but I'm not sure what it is.

Edited by spacekid, 09 July 2012 - 22:41.


#6 rt99

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 23:06

In an ironic way, F1 has no place in the UK's over-polluted, overpopulated ### holes of cities. Ironically, F1 goes to parks, smart clean modern cities, near lakes that are actually quite peaceful and beautiful most of the year round, so a glamorous motorsport event, the noise pollution, the traffic jams, the litter and the packed public transport can be tolerated once per year, something Londoners and people of Birmingham put up with everyday. Sounds crazy, but it just doesn't fit in my view. Boris needs to look at improving everyday quality of life before supporting a London GP. Sounds even more crazy, but a Lake district GP would be a better fit. But it's all about money and glamour at the end of the day and the UK has neither. Silverstone survives, seemingly for historic reasons.

#7 black magic

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:14

we have no need of another street circuit

#8 ExFlagMan

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:15

Remember the Birmingham Super Prix, part of the F3000 championship. I wonder why it did not succeed long term?

As far as I can remember it was a change of ruling party on Birmingham Council to one with opposing views.
It seems a very long time ago but it was pretty good - marshalled all of them :clap:

#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:26

Well I never. I would never have believed that such a thing had happened in the UK as recently, but here it is!!



This is brilliant and should happen again. Its like a very low budget monaco.

I still don't think its feasible, but if it could be done in the 1980's why not now? I know there's a reason, but I'm not sure what it is.

Vastly increased safety standards, green agendas, cost, disruption, security ... how many more would you like?

It's a complete non-starter. For one thing you need Parliamentary approval, which it took Birmingham years to organise and get: and that was well before all the major parties started waving their green credentials around. No MP of any colour is going to stand up and support this, even though the sport does have a number of high-level supporters in Parliament: Ken Clark, Lord Rooker and Peter Hain for three. However, as Damon Hill said on TV at the weekend, when MPs turn up at race meetings these days they keep a very low profile - especially since the expenses scandal - for fear of being accused of receiving inappropriate hospitality. Overall, even though having a very successful motor sport industry is seen as a good thing by governments, they have always kept racing itself at arm's length: it's a vote loser.

Racing of any sort is illegal on UK public roads under the Road Traffic Act of 1930: which is why - in England and Wales - we don't have tarmac rallies. The laws are slightly different in Scotland and Northern Ireland: Holyrood and Stormont have the authority to grant exceptions. Over the years there have been dozens of street and public road circuit proposals: OTTOMH in Bristol, London, Scarborough, Edinburgh, Brighton and the Peak District. Birmingham is the only one which ever succeeded: it's also the only one which was ever proposed and sponsored by the relevant council. Given their smaller constituency base, local councillors are even more vulnerable than MPs: "vote loser" would appear before them in even bigger letters! And we wouldn't want to throw our local councillors off the gravy train, would we? :rolleyes:

Some info here, by David Page (aka hereabouts as bigears)

http://8w.forix.com/bsp.html

For a more comprehensive look at it, you could invest in David's book on the Superprix, published by Veloce.

Edited by Vitesse2, 10 July 2012 - 07:28.


#10 Rob

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:54

Racing of any sort is illegal on UK public roads under the Road Traffic Act of 1930: which is why - in England and Wales - we don't have tarmac rallies.


How does Oliver's Mount in Scarborough get away with it? Presumably an Act of Parliament?

#11 Jamiednm

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:03


It constantly rains in the UK. Rain + street circuit = safety cars, red flags, abandoned races. Shouldn't happen and won't happen.

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:34

How does Oliver's Mount in Scarborough get away with it? Presumably an Act of Parliament?

Private land. The park in which it's situated is council-owned and I believe that in law the roads are either "unadopted" or "private", so they are the responsibility of the council not the Highways Authority. Oliver's Mount was established in 1946, at the council's initiative at a very low cost: ironically, immediately pre-war the council had rejected a very well put together proposal for a public road circuit after objections from locals that it would attract "the wrong sort of people"! The local club had ideas of bidding for the TT (cars, not bikes!)

Edited by Vitesse2, 10 July 2012 - 08:35.


#13 Bloggsworth

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:37

Stupid idea.

#14 ForeverF1

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:42

Anyone wanting more info on Oliver's Mount.

#15 pingu666

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:06

ive been to olivers mount twice, really nice place :)


#16 Rob

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:40

Private land. The park in which it's situated is council-owned and I believe that in law the roads are either "unadopted" or "private", so they are the responsibility of the council not the Highways Authority. Oliver's Mount was established in 1946, at the council's initiative at a very low cost: ironically, immediately pre-war the council had rejected a very well put together proposal for a public road circuit after objections from locals that it would attract "the wrong sort of people"! The local club had ideas of bidding for the TT (cars, not bikes!)


Interesting, thanks! :)

#17 Clatter

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:43

Racing of any sort is illegal on UK public roads under the Road Traffic Act of 1930: which is why - in England and Wales - we don't have tarmac rallies.


The act only relates to unauthorised racing. Get the correct permission and racing on public roads is allowed.

#18 Rob

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:45

The act only relates to unauthorised racing. Get the correct permission and racing on public roads is allowed.


No, it relates to all racing. That's why you need an Act of Parliament to hold a race on public roads.

#19 Clatter

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:00

No, it relates to all racing. That's why you need an Act of Parliament to hold a race on public roads.


So you get the correct permission and you can race on public roads.

13 Regulation of motoring events on public ways.

(1)A person who promotes or takes part in a competition or trial (other than a race or trial of speed) involving the use of motor vehicles on a public way is guilty of an offence unless the competition or trial—

(a)is authorised, and
(b)is conducted in accordance with any conditions imposed,


by or under regulations under this section.

(2)The Secretary of State may by regulations authorise, or provide for authorising, the holding of competitions or trials (other than races or trials of speed) involving the use of motor vehicles on public ways either—

(a)generally, or
(b)as regards any area, or as regards any class or description of competition or trial or any particular competition or trial,

subject to such conditions, including conditions requiring the payment of fees, as may be imposed by or under the regulations.

(3)Regulations under this section may—

(a)prescribe the procedure to be followed, and the particulars to be given, in connection with applications for authorisation under the regulations, and
(b)make different provision for different classes or descriptions of competition or trial.

(4)In this section “public way” means, in England and Wales, a [F2highway] and, in Scotland, a public road.



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#20 Imperial

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:20

Given the financial struggles of all UK race tracks and the need to maximise their limited useable track days (due to noise restrictions), I find the idea of introducing street races for any category abhorrent.



#21 Jon83

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:13

There are enough street circuits as it is.

#22 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 14:02

So you get the correct permission and you can race on public roads.

Yes. But the precedent of Birmingham shows that those regulations referenced at 13(3) require an Act of Parliament.

The RAC tried twice - in 1924 and 1925 - to get an Act passed to regularise competition on public roads. Up to that point, it had been at the discretion of local Chief Constables, with some counties being more willing than others to grant permission. Both Bills failed and the RAC were advised that it woud be no use trying again. Although this was about the time of the 1925 Kop Hill crash which finally prompted the RAC to decide to no longer sanction events on public roads, the writing was already on the wall and their hand seems to have been forced: in a Parliamentary answer of July 15th 1926 the Home Secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks, said he had “issued a Circular last year to chief constables advising them that no facilities for motor races on public highways should he granted and that it was the duty of the police to take the necessary steps to prevent the use of the highway for that purpose.”

#23 Rob29

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 16:06

There are enough street circuits as it is.

Hah? There are currently none in the UK. I have been to Birmingham.Also Kart racing in Hull & Peel(IOM)

#24 Amphicar

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 16:24

So you get the correct permission and you can race on public roads.

No - the section you quote relates to competitions or trials other than races or trials of speed. It relates to navigation rallies or regularity trials, which can be authorised by the Secretary of State. As Vitesse2 rightly says, you need an Act of Parliament to be able to race on public roads.

#25 Mr Plug

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 16:32

Stupid idea.


Plus 1. Who in their right mind would PAY to see a BTCC race in Glasgow - or Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds come to that - when you can already see idiots in saloon cars bashing into each other every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night........for free!


#26 Red17

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 16:50

Although the BTCC does have good television coverage, it is still completely ignored by most mainstream media while the F3/GT gets a measly highlights package on free-to-air television and is even more ignored. With both series seeing drivers forced to pull out due to sponsorship issues, particularly in the support races, a real shot in the arm would be more than welcome and I have no doubt that a street race in a big city could not help but get media coverage.


Thoughts?

When money gets short it's always the smaller series that suffer. Having a circuit in a city will hardly create an impact. You would need to run the circuit for a long time and hope people embrace the new tradition. The first years would probably generate no income at all.
On top of that racing is not «as cool» as it once was. Racing is not on the same level it once was and top people are actually afraid to show their support because it's not green friendly. I fail to see how some green loonies target racing as a problem when most racing machines nowdays are way more eficient than any regular car out there, it has been shown that a football match is far worse than a race. But who cares about facts?

There is also the disruption. People who already know racing will know and accept that putting up a temporary track somewhere always creates complications. People who don't know or don't care will only hate it more because of this disruption.

Edited by Red17, 10 July 2012 - 16:51.


#27 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 16:50

No - the section you quote relates to competitions or trials other than races or trials of speed. It relates to navigation rallies or regularity trials, which can be authorised by the Secretary of State. As Vitesse2 rightly says, you need an Act of Parliament to be able to race on public roads.

The relevant section of the 1930 Act, which tidied up legislation dating back at least a century refers specifically to "Prohibition of motor racing and speed trials on highways" and actually says:

13.-(1) Any person who promotes or takes part in
a race or trial of speed between motor vehicles on a
public highway shall be liable to imprisonment for a
term not exceeding three months or to a fine not
exceeding fifty pounds, or to both such imprisonment
and fine.
(2) A person convicted of an offence under this
section shall, unless the court for special reasons thinks
fit to order otherwise and without prejudice to the power
of the court to order a longer period of disqualification, be
disqualified for a period of twelve months from the date
of the conviction for holding or obtaining a licence.

The fines will of course have been updated since, but the current law covering this (Road Traffic Act 1972) says simply:

14 Motor racing on highways
A person who promotes or takes part in a race or trial of speed between motor vehicles on a public highway shall be guilty of an offence.

The other provision has survived pretty much unchanged:

15 Regulation of motoring events on highways
(1)A person who promotes or takes part in a competition or trial (other than a race or trial of speed) involving the use of motor vehicles on a public highway shall be guilty of an offence unless the competition or trial is authorised, and is conducted in accordance with any conditions imposed, by or under regulations under this section.
(2)The Secretary of State may by regulations authorise, or provide for authorising, the holding of such competitions and trials as aforesaid, either generally, or as regards any area, or as regards any class or description of competition or trial or any particular competition or trial, subject to such conditions, including conditions requiring the payment of fees, as may be imposed by or under the regulations.
(3)Regulations under this section may—
(a)prescribe the procedure to be followed, and the particulars to be given, in connection with applications for authorisation under the regulations, and
(b)make different provision for different classes or descriptions of competition or trial.



#28 ArnageWRC

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 17:15

The only Motorsport events that take place on 'closed roads' are private roads, i;e The Promenade Stages in New Brighton. The only event on the mainland which uses closed roads for Motorsport is the Jim Clark Rally, based in Duns. I think it was 1998 they first ran it as a closed roads event, and became a BRC round in 1999. I seem to remember it taking a lot of hard work, a lot of money to get the Act of Parliament temporary annulled. Closing the roads has never been a problem - annulling the Act is. It really is up to the MSA to start lobbying - but is there the will. With the way forest charging has gone, closed roads Rallying is badly needed.

#29 Imperial

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 20:56

People who don't know or don't care will only hate it more because of this disruption.


Completely true, look at that ****ing stupid Olympic torch relay that has progressively locked down mile after mile of the UK for weeks now.

#30 rolf123

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 21:15

Now London, the choice of the recent F1 proposal is, in my view, a waste of time - fans in London already have easy access to Silverstone, Brands Hatch and many other good circuits that host high level race meetings.


This is not true.

Most Londoners don't even own a car. Getting to traditional circuits is nearly always done by car. Yes, it can be done by coach sometimes but even that is not reliable.

Put it this way, how many non-white non-middle class faces do you see at racing circuits? If you held a street race in London, I guarantee it would draw in a totally different demographic to the typical F1 or non-F1 race in this country.

London is still a great venue because if you use Hyde Park and Green Park then you need only close down minimal roads. London can easily handle a few days of a handful of road closures. It happens all the time now anyway. That's why you check the traffic news each morning if you drive to see where the tailbacks and road closures are. It's normal.

Edited by rolf123, 10 July 2012 - 21:15.