MotoGP: Circuit of Wales bosses hoping good news on the horizon

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Circuit of Wales boss Martin Whittaker has told MCN that he hopes there’s good news on the immediate horizon for the project, after they submitted what they’re hoping will be the final draft of their proposal to the Welsh Government.

Knocked back repeatedly by the regional assembly as they fought to bring the public guarantees on the project to under 50% of it’s £430 million total, Whittaker says they’ve achieved that goal as of last month.

“The Minister asked us back in July to go away and visit a new model which was a 50/50 guarantee, where the Welsh Government would only have to guarantee 50% or less of the total figure – and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve had meetings with them literally every week, gone through every single element, and three weeks ago we delivered the term.

“We have two reputable investors, and for them to have stuck with us demonstrates their commitment to the project. The Welsh Government have all of that in writing, and we’re now going through a period of due diligence and to be fair you’d expect them to do that. They’ve done it on a number of occasions before, but this is us finally putting the papers in.”

And despite imminent local elections in Wales that could potentially delay any announcement until after the first week of May, the project boss says there’s no reason why they can’t get underway with construction before the summer.

“That will probably take between four and six weeks, although there are local elections and there seems to be some question marks over whether we are limited by purdah – but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter too much. What matters is that we get a decision as quickly as possible because we want to start construction.

“The construction period is 24 months, but obviously we want to start as soon as possible to maximise the good weather. The first major international even would be MotoGP in 2019, and we’re hoping to stick with the August Bank Holiday date, because it’s great for us – and the date in 2015 didn’t work at all because there was a classis Silverstone exodus problem!”

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.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer