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British MOTOGP cancelled over funding concerns.

Byline: Ian Parkes newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

DONINGTON Park officials say they have been forced to cancel this year's British round of MotoGP due to the failure of Circuit of Wales (CoW) bosses to fulfil funding obligations.

Last year, MotoGP rights holders Dorna signed a five-year agreement with CoW from 2015, despite the fact construction work had yet to commence on the troubled Ebbw Vale facility. It resulted in CoW turning to Donington Park chiefs for assistance for this year, believing they would then be able to take up the running of the event.

CoW, however, continues to face numerous planning hurdles which have had a knock-on effect on the distribution of funds, resulting in delays paying Donington Park.

Yesterday, CoW stressed in a statement that it had all funding in place to host the 2015 race in the UK.

A statement from Donington Park Racing Ltd (DPRL) read: "Despite DPRL's best efforts, the time lost with CoW being unable to complete the funding arrangements has resulted in delays in almost all of the event's critically-important operational plans, from track works to equipment hire.

"Therefore, in the judgement of the board of DPRL, this current position could jeopardise the safe and successful running of the 2015 British MotoGP at Donington to such an extent that both the commercial risks and the lack of time are now too great to allow Donington to proceed.

"Therefore, Donington Park must withdraw from any further participation. Consequently, the 2015 British round of the FIM MotoGP World Championship will not now be held at Donington Park on August 30, 2015."

Christopher Tate, Donington Park managing director, expressed his disappointment.

He said: "The position we are now in is, of course, frustrating and uncomfortable for all concerned.

"We have our overall business, our staff and their futures to consider, as well as our concerns for the fans.

"We have rebuilt so much of this facility and its global reputation in the years since 2010 under new ownership and management. We are not going to risk all that, nor risk affecting the quality of the MotoGP fans' experience - looking after the fans is at the heart of what Donington does.

"It is this week, way past any normal deadlines, when we - in partnership with CoW - would have been committing to major expenditures.

"CoW have made it clear to us they are not now in a position to complete, so we have to withdraw and end the planned arrangement."

Donington has confirmed all fans who purchased tickets will be given a full refund due to their monies being held in an escrow account. It remains to be seen whether CoW will turn to Silverstone, which held the event from 2010-2014, but like Donington they will require financial guarantees, and time may also be too short. A statement from CoW said: "After initially agreeing Heads of Terms with the board of DPRL in September 2014, both parties were subsequently unable to agree further terms to form a legal contract.

"Contrary to claims by DPRL that the Circuit of Wales is unable to meet the funding arrangements, we are unwilling to provide the significant funding that DPRL required for the necessary track upgrades to host the British Grand Prix without a signed contractual agreement.

"We have all of the funding necessary in place to promote and host the 2015 race in the UK.

"All funding for the flagship Circuit of Wales regeneration development in Blaenau Gwent is on track with works due to start later this year following the outcome of the public inquiry in March."

"The Circuit of Wales will continue to promote the British round of the FIM MotoGPWorld Championship and is fully committed to delivering the event later this year."

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 11, 2015
Words:638
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