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Motorsport: Mondello pledge to strike out on their own

Mondello Park has announced that they will run race meetings without approval from Motorsport Ireland (MSI) this year as attitudes harden in the dispute over club affiliation.

Mondello have applied to the governing body to have their club, Mondello Park Sports, affiliated so they can run some meetings entirely in-house but they are still a few signatures short of the 75pc approval from all MSI clubs which would rubber-stamp the process.

Motorsport Ireland have said they are unwilling to go against their own rules to approve Mondello's club affiliation without the three-quarters support of the clubs, most of whom have little interest or association with the venue.

As a result, Mondello CEO John Morris has decided he and his club will go it alone and run events for the usual classes this year and, subject to insurance approval, will accept entries from drivers with 2010 or 2011 Motorsport Ireland licences.

The situation threatens to further undermine a branch of the sport that is already suffering in the current economic climate, but Morris has said he has no choice and there is little chance of going back on the decision.

"The plan is that we will run open race meetings in 2011," said Morris. "We've met with class representatives and there was very positive feedback from that meeting.

"We've offered them an entry fee structure that will allow the well-supported classes to benefit from lower entry fees and may encourage some other class to amalgamate on race weekends.

"That will allow us to run one or two other classes at each meeting. We will look after safety scrutineering and the classes will police eligibility. We've written to Motorsport Ireland to let them know our decision and we're waiting for a response."

To that end, the Motorsport Commission of MSI is due to meet this evening when the Mondello crisis will be high on the agenda. The outcome of that meeting is sure to have significant implications for the future of racing on the island.

Mondello already undertake the vast majority of administrative procedure attached to each race meeting at the Kildare circuit, including entry processing and track safety, while the clubs arrive on the day to head up the process, taking a significant percentage of the competitor entry fees.

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The circuit's new club had planned to run three meetings this year, with the remaining five run by existing clubs, and the nub of the argument would seem to be that certain clubs supply very little manpower to run meetings but still get a significant cut of revenue, regardless of whether the event runs at a profit.

Competitors seem broadly in support of the Mondello club and many seem non-plussed that a number of clubs who have no connection with racing have blocked Mondello's affiliation.

Now the row appears to have moved beyond club affiliation and Mondello have upped the ante by challenging the authority of MSI.

Mondello's plan to go it alone in running race meetings is sure to raise hackles in MSI's Dawson St headquarters and the viability of the proposed calendar of racing events at the Kildare venue has to be questioned if the current impasse continues.

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