MotoGP: Welsh MP questions Circuit of Wales over FTR purchase

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Welsh MP David Davies, who has emerged as the most vocal voice in questioning the Circuit of Wales project in recent months, has criticised circuit bosses for their purchase of chassis manufacturer FTR, which went bust last year.

The Heads of the Valleys Development Company purchased the chassis manufacturer in 2012 for over £400,000, with the stated intention of having a Welsh rider competing for a at a Welsh circuit on a Welsh bike.

However, FTR had not been produced frames for some time as HOTVDC had intended to move the company to the Circuit of Wales, but delays in the construction of that project has prevented them doing so, and the company entered insolvency in November with £500,000 of liabilities.

Davies told that he questioned the purchase of the company back in November, and was less than impressed with the answers he received from circuit bosses Michael Carrick and Martin Whitaker.

“During the meeting with Mr Carrick and Mr Whitaker I asked Mr Carrick why he had bought a loss-making motorbike firm based in Buckingham, FTR Moto, that was still making a loss.

“He described FTR Moto as an anchor company for the Circuit of Wales project, said it punched ‘miles above its weight in Moto GP’, and that it would help the Circuit’s main contract event get 40,000 extra spectators in Wales who wanted to see ‘a Welsh rider on a Welsh bike in a Welsh round of a world championship.’ Within weeks there was an application to wind FTR Moto up and in October 2016 it was placed into administration.”

The quotes were given as part of a series of claims that Davies says that the circuit made that later were proven to be untrue, including plans for a BMW-themed visitor attraction and renewable energy investment.

FTR was founded in 1994 by Steve Bones and provided frames for a number of teams including Kenny Roberts’ squad and the Gresini, Avintia and Forward Racing CRT machines. They also took a number of wins in Moto2 with riders such as Karol Abraham and Alex de Angelis.

Originally proposed in 2011 and scheduled to get construction underway in 2013, the Circuit of Wales has yet to break ground. However, organisation remain as the rights holders of the British round of the MotoGP championship, signing a ten-year deal with rights holders Dorna in 2014 but subsequently leasing Silverstone to run the race.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer