Donington British MotoGP round in doubt

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Donington Park operator Simon Gillett’s company Donington Ventures Leisure Limited has been issued with legal proceedings over £2.47million in unpaid rent.

The legal proceedings mean Gillett’s company has now forfeited the lease for Donington Park and will have to pay the money owed, plus interest, plus legal costs and apply for relief from forfeiture before it can take back the lease.

The situation throws into doubt not just the future of the MotoGP round but also two British Superbike rounds and a World Superbike round.

A press release from Brown Jacobson solicitors acting for Donington Park circuit owners Wheatcroft and Son Limited states:

“Wheatcroft & Son Limited, the owners of Donington Park motor racing circuit, have issued legal proceedings against Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, the operators of the circuit, seeking £2.47m in rent arrears and forfeiture of the circuit lease.

“Lawyers at Browne Jacobson LLP, acting on behalf of their client Wheatcroft & Son Limited, issued the proceedings at Derby County Court earlier today (23rd April).

“Wheatcroft & Son Limited awarded Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd  a 150-year lease back in January 2007.

“Donington Park, has since been awarded a ten-year contract to host the British Grand Prix from 2010.

Kevin Wheatcroft of Wheatcroft & Son Limited said :

“It is with great reluctance that we have taken this decision. Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd owe us nearly £2.5m in rent dating back to September 2008.

“Despite receiving numerous reassurances over a number of months they have consistently failed to meet their financial obligations under the terms of the lease.

“We have held off taking legal action for as long as possible but have been left with no choice but to commence proceedings to recover the outstanding rent and forfeit the lease.

“No further comment will be made on this issue.”

Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter