Eyebrows were raised last summer when Dorna – Moto GP’s owner – announced it had done a five-year deal from 2015 with the Circuit of Wales to host the British round of the Moto GP series. The main reason for the raised eyebrows was that the circuit didn’t exist except in the dreams of a promoter.
There was no chance the circuit would be ready for racing in 2015, so Circuit of Wales did a deal with the Donington track to substitute and hold the race in 2015. Big problem there was that Donington hasn’t held a Moto GP for some years and would require millions of pounds in improvements to be homologated by Dorna for the event.
This had all started when Silverstone, the track that’s held the race in recent years (and the only one in the U.K. currently homologated to Dorna standards) had broken off negotiations with Dorna over the financial deal being offered.
Earlier this week Donington suddenly announced that the Circuit of Wales principals hadn’t come up with promised funding to upgrade the track, so they were backing out of the deal. Circuit of Wales responded with an announcement that the money hadn’t been provided because Donington hadn’t signed an agreement they required for the funding. Bit of an impass, that.
Last September, while on holiday, I happened to pass by the area in Wales where the track is supposed to be built, on the south edge of a beautiful national park called the Brecon Beacons, and saw nothing except picturesque meadows and lots of sheep. Turns out the area intended for the track is part of the reserved park area, and there’s huge local controversy about changing the zoning of the 830 acres the developers/promoters want for their new facility. Given local hard feelings, it didn’t strike me as likely that anything was going to happen in the foreseeable future, not to mention the creation of roads, hotels, and other infrastructure required for such an event.
During the flurry of press announcements between Circuit of Wales and Donington, the managers of Silverstone scooted off to Spain to talk to Dorna, and got over their initial financial issues to obtain a two-year deal to continue hosting the Moto GP race. In the meantime, the principals of the Circuit of Wales are still embroiled in the zoning fight for their property, but apparently still have the rights to the Moto GP for the years 2017-19.
At least we know there will be a Moto GP in the U.K. for the next two years.