Scarborough road races in jeopardy

The town's council have dispensed with Auto 66 as race organiser after safety issues

Scarborough road races in jeopardy

THE FUTURE of Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough remains in doubt with the local council now condemning the organising Auto 66 Club for their actions and handling of the situation that has been ongoing since last September.

The ACU instructed the club to make a number of safety improvements after two separate accidents at the same corner at last September’s Gold Cup meeting left more than ten spectators injured.

Not all of those improvements were made in time for the April Spring Cup with the Auto 66 citing a lack of budget and the ACU subsequently failing to grant them a course licence. The meeting was cancelled with the same fate befalling this month’s Cock o’ the North. Next month’s Barry Sheene Festival is also almost certain to go the same way.

People who purchased advance tickets for the Spring Cup have failed to be reimbursed with all requests falling on deaf ears whilst riders have yet to have their entry fees returned. Some riders are still owed start and prize money from the Gold Cup and the local Scarborough Council have now stepped in to make their feelings clear in a bid to get racing back to the venue. Their action has already seen them withdraw the Auto 66 Club’s licence for hosting meetings at Oliver’s Mount in order for a new partner to take over.

The four meetings held at the venue per year obviously bring significant income to the area, also considerably boosting tourism figures. Now faced with a huge hole in the North Yorkshire town’s income, the council have made a plea for new organisers to step in and save the circuit, which has been in use since 1946, from extinction.

“On several occasions in the last few months we have made known to the club our concerns about the issues at Oliver’s Mount, particularly regarding safety. We have tried to work closely with the club to try to resolve its outstanding issues, but despite our continued efforts to help, very frustratingly these have not been met with a suitable, responsible commitment from the club,” said a statment.

“We have offered assistance (including financial), but the club has been unable or unwilling to provide us with suitable business proposals and plans that would give us the confidence and ability to progress such matters.”

“The Auto-Cycle Union’s (ACU) refusal earlier this year to grant a licence for racing at the venue confirmed our fears that the club had not dealt with the safety requirements required and expected of them. The safety of riders and spectators is of paramount importance to us and combined with subsequent issues at the recent hill climb event, including late cancellation of advertised events and the ongoing negative impact on the venue’s reputation, we have been left with no other choice but to reach the regrettable decision to terminate the club’s licence to operate at the venue.

“The high profile, international reputation of the Oliver’s Mount circuit and its value to Scarborough is extremely important to us and we are committed to ensuring that its reputation and racing at the circuit is maintained. Continuing our relationship with the Auto 66 Club would not achieve this. We have therefore already begun discussions with interested parties, including the ACU, who have shown significant interest in helping us, to ensure high quality and safe racing continues to be delivered at the important and historic venue.”