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Lone Wolf and fearing for WSBK

Desperation is the mother of invention it is said. And it certainly seems that desperation or, better still, divine intervention is being sought by new owners Dorna for the troubled World Superbike Championship.

Fresh from a paid attendance of, it is said, less than 10,000 over three days at Silverstone we hear that enquiries have been made with European circuits interested in hosting WSBK events in 2014 if they would consider moving start times to fit with television schedules. IE could you hold the races in the morning when there is less competition from more mainstream sport? Needless to say, the proposal has not been greeted with enthusiasm.

We have to fear for the future of this once great series. Whatever the failings of the previous ownership, the Flammini brothers and their small staff in Rome operated with great enthusiasm and loyalty.


Dorna are not directly to blame for declining attendances. However, it has to be said that anything which is not top of the owners agenda and receive the appropriate amount of TLC is not likely to move in the right direction. They are right to look at ways of reducing costs but have to be careful that the medicine doesn't kill the patient. And with the defection of BMW to MotoGP it will be interesting to see how much manufacturer support WSBK will get next season.

And as we have asked before, which circuits will be putting their hand up to pay Dorna a fee in the region of half a million Euros to bring the show to town. No one in the UK that is for sure!


"We're all doomed," was the mournful cry of Scots actor John Lawrie in Dad's Army. And there is an element of pessimism in all of us which makes failure a more appealing conversation topic than success. And that is why the crowd, or rather lack of it, at WSBK Silverstone (see above) was much talked about, particularly in the dual context of the future of the circuit and the series.

Well, the future of the circuit appears to be in the hands of a property development company and a private equity investor which, you might say, is a mixed blessing. But let's look on the bright side. As to WSBK (again see above).

On the really bright side, BSB at Cadwell was sensational stuff with a crowd said to be going on 40,000! This was almost certainly the usual television presenter hyperbole but if the paid attendance was half that, or more, it certainly says something for the series and, particularly, the circuit. Cadwell is a great motorbike racing circuit whereas Silverstone is not.

And the classic army is on the move. While the Donington event did not bring in thousands of watchers, the paddock was brimming with enthusiasts, young and old, all marvelling at the engineering intricacies of a 60 year old Guzzi v-eight and the modern versions of Manx Nortons or Honda sixes. And some excellent racing to boot.

A week later we had the TT Classic with the Manx Tourist Board pushing the boat out big time.

Its success could be judged by the difficulty of getting a hire car or hotel room, due to overseas bookings, Douglas prom was lined with bikes and the Sunday show at Jurby was heaving with people as they watched Giacomo Agostini, Kel Carruthers and a host of racing legends reliving racing history on the track. And now that classic racing bikes are ones within the memory of younger people, it was possible to see stars like Michael Dunlop lapping the Mountain Circuit at 120mph plus on thirty year old bikes.


It is an ambitious venture, not without its downsides and if, as has been suggested, it is to be the two wheel equivalent of the famous Goodwood Revival then meticulous attention to detail will need to be applied. Speed differentials and number of bikes on the circuit add to the risk unnecessarily; a £100 VIP dinner serving chicken where star turn, one Giacomo Agostini, had gone home when called to the stage at midnight; the 1967 TT recreation starring Ago and Hailwood lookalike John McGuiness didn't quite go according to plan as a photo opportunity.

But the concept is great and the Tourist Board lead by Paul Phillips deserve huge credit for having the courage to put their money where their mouth is.


The battle to front up BTs MotoGP programming next year is intensifying. Or, at least, the rumour mill is. New favourite as lead presenter is ex-World Superbike champion Neil Hodgson who has been carving out a new career in media as a pundit, mostly on Eurosport. His credentials as someone who can hold a programme together, aka Jake Humphrey now the lead across BT Sport, are somewhat limited and no doubt Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder would be somewhat miffed if Hodgson was the choice.

It has to be said that, as this is television, looks are important and, while trying desperately hard not to be cruel, a one or two of the candidates - not the above-mentioned, of course - are naturals for radio. Wolf's only contribution to this is that if you want informed opinion, with a bit of humour thrown in, then Steve Parrish is your man with the BBCs Mat Roberts as the dark horse.

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