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Robin Miller: More than ever, racing costs now need to be addressed

The cost of racing, referred to by James Whitham last week, is coming under increasing focus as the deadly pandemic seems as if it will be with us for some considerable time and certainly well into 2021.

Little doubt there will be less money in fans pockets or sponsors' purses which, as Whitham observed, will hit all the teams many of whom, from MotoGP to BSB, are now reassessing their plans for next year.

Even Paul Bird, owner of the team most likely to win the BSB championship at Brands Hatch this weekend, will be having a hard look at his budget in the coming weeks.


“We are fortunate in having most of our sponsors signed up but the governing bodies and the promoters have to look at the costs," he said.

"And the first thing they should do is go from three-day events to two days. That would save a lot of money and benefit the smaller teams in particular."

This morning, Smiths announced its departure from racing. No announcement has yet been made but It it is difficult to disconnect the announcements of Peter Hickman and Alex Olsen going to ‘unnamed’ teams from the team which is their current employer.

The good news is that a well-connected enthusiast from the Far East, thought not to be short of a bob or two, may be stepping into the breach.

And talking of Macau, their Grand Prix looks like it could be a non-starter as the big names don’t want to go and one has to question next year with events like the TT, where there has been a resounding silence from either of the interested parties, the ACU or the Isle of Man Government.

Unconnected with the difficulties facing racing for next year is the departure of Melvyn Whyte, the power behind the North West 200, and Mick Grant and Eddie Roberts from Scarborough. All had done their bit in surviving and reviving events which surely have a future but not without, at least, short term difficulties.

Sport, in general, will be forced to look at costs. What can be cut without damaging the spectacle? Or the numbers of participants? It has to be said that Dorna have done a great job in manipulating the rules to support private and satellite teams resulting in seven different winners in MotoGP so far this year, helped it has to be said by the absence of Marquez. And two of the most competitive series in Moto 2 and Moto 3. They are unbelievably exciting and we now have British winners.

And British Superbikes has been the most exciting for years. It has been the ‘Showdown’ from start to finish and this weekend could be the best ever since Tommy Hill beat John Hopkins on the very last lap.

But costs have to be reduced and has to apply to the grass roots, ie club racing. Tyres - why so many? Fuel - what’s wrong with pump fuel? One day meetings? The governing bodies have to address the issue now.

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