Sunday 18 March 2018

Motorsport: Mondello calendar in limbo after club licence bid falters

Declan Quigley

The 2011 racing calendar at Mondello Park remains in limbo this week as the circuit's application for an affiliation licence for its new club is three votes short of approval.

The lingering row over the running of race meetings at the venue threatens competition at the Republic's only permanent car racing facility into next season, as the circuit operator threatens to charge clubs a full market rate to run events, as in the UK.

Mondello insists that the current arrangement, in which organising clubs are guaranteed significant revenue from events regardless of their commercial viability, is inequitable, especially as the vast majority of the organisation of each event is undertaken by the circuit.

As a result, Mondello Park Sports Club has applied to Motorsport Ireland for affiliation, so that it can run circuit race events at the Kildare venue. However, it requires a 75pc approval from the other clubs for this to happen.

That's 27 out of the 35 Motorsport Ireland clubs -- but it is understood that Mondello's application currently has the support of just 24 clubs.

A deadline for approval was set ahead of a Mondello board meeting this week. It is understood that Mondello will write to Motorsport Ireland this week on foot of the failure to acquire the necessary votes to this point. Mondello plan to run three events with its club next season, with the remainder of the eight events run by existing clubs.

Under the current arrangement, Mondello undertakes the vast majority of the pre-event administration and on-the-day organisation. The clubs take a percentage of the competitor race entries, regardless of whether the event runs in profit or not. Mondello says it will ensure that the funds normally taken from entry fees will be returned to them.

There is widespread support for Mondello's new club and a concerted campaign from concerned competitors has brought the target of 27 clubs within touching distance.

However, having missed Mondello's deadline of its board meeting earlier this week, it remains to be seen what approach will be taken by the circuit operator in further discussions with Motorsport Ireland.

Very few clubs run race events, with rallying the core activity of the majority, but there is resistance to Mondello's application led by the Irish Motor Racing Club.

Meanwhile, Kenny McKinstry is the latest 'Tarmac Titan' to be honoured with a tribute DVD in the popular series by RPM Productions. 'Our Kenny' traces the long career of the Banbridge man, from road rallying to his dominance in Lurgan Park, the glory years with the Kaliber Team, fun visits to Barbados, his pride in daughter Emma's achievements and the joy of seeing his cars winning in other drivers' hands.

Also released by RPM is a must-see review of the 2010 Tarmac Series featuring Gareth MacHale's first championship success.

Irish Independent

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