Tributes to Bikesport News founder and Donington Park stalwart Robert Fearnall, who passed away at his home last week, have been pouring in. Below are just a few we have received and we will pass on all to his family.
BBC MotoGP commentator and former Grand Prix racer Steve Parrish said: "Very sad news. I always enjoyed working with Robert. He was good for our sport."
Former Emap chairman and CEO Sir Robin Miller said: "Robert was not only a most respected motorsport entrepreneur but one of the most popular. He was truly a gentleman who was fun to be with and the sport will seem much smaller and undoubtedly the poorer without him.
"His background was as a journalist with Autosport and he then played a major part on the rehabilitation of Silverstone in the seventies before moving to Castle Donington. Together with partner Maurice Jones, he set up Two Four Sports and under a lease arrangement with circuit owner Tom Wheatcroft brought big events such as MotoGP to the Leicestershire circuit.
As a prominent member of the MCRCB he helped create the British Superbike Championship and although he may have started his career as an auto enthusiast, his love for motor cycle racing and the people in it was obvious to everybody. He had a particular affection for Ireland and Irish road racing which he would visit on a regular basis while writing reports for Bikesport News, the newspaper he founded.
"He had a particularly close relationship with the Wheatcroft family and was held in the highest regard by Tom Wheatcroft. The turmoil of recent years - the death of Wheatcroft senior and the Formula 1 fiasco - made his role as Race Director more testing but ever the opportunist he was talking to other people and other venues about the possibilities which lay ahead both in publishing and race promotion.
MSVR boss Jonathan Palmer said: "I was extremely sad to learn of the death of Robert Fearnall. Robert devoted his life to motorsport, and particularly Donington Park and motor cycling racing in general, about which he was probably the most knowledgeable person in the UK for many years. When MSV took over the Brands Hatch group of circuits Robert joined us to head up the motorsport events team and his wisdom was a great asset to our business at a time when running race events and particularly motor cycle racing was very new to me."
"The motor cycle racing world in particular owes a great debt to Robert Fearnall and in many ways. Apart from producing his beloved BikeSport News publication, which gives unique coverage to legions of club motor cycle racers, Robert was also instrumental in setting the British Superbike Championship on the successful path it has since followed.
"Recognising BSB's potential with the right structure, Robert re-launched BSB in 1995 under the control of the newly created MCRCB regulatory body, which had specific responsibility for the unique requirements of BSB and still continues today, with BSB having now become the most successful national motorsport championship in Great Britain. Robert made a major contribution to UK motorsport and many of us at MSV will miss him as both a friend and professionally."
Former Honda boss Barry Symmonds said: "I have to say how sorry I am at the tragic loss to motorsport of Robert Fearnall. The dream team of Robert and Tom Wheatcroft did so much for bikesport and 4 wheel sport, it is impossible to gauge in this country. He particularly will be sorely missed if not Irreplaceable. Roberts’s enthusiasm, for particularly Bikesport is legendary and for those who don’t know he was a founding director of Bike Sport News which did so much to place the enthusiasm and dedication of the unsung heroes of national Bike racing in the limelight.
"I had the honour of looking after him at events here in Northern Ireland and at Mondello and his enthusiasm and knowledge was second to none. At Donington his input and support of Tom’s enthusiasm was to be seen to be believed. He made the competitors feel important and welcome. Who could forget the hampers of fruit supplied to the early competitors at Donington both trans-Atlantic and Grand prix. A lovely man and a great friend to us all in motorcycling."