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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Baja UK: FIA-status costs will eventually stop Baja UK.

The future of the Baja GB was hanging by a thread on Monday, because the Welsh Assembly Government decided against honouring a gentleman's three-year agreement to cover any financial short falls in the event whilst it became established and was able to attract major sponsors in its own right.

To have the FIA-status organizers have to pay high amounts for the luxury conditions for FIA observers and comissars and also FIA-fees. After the "Por las Pampas" Rally in the beginning of 2008 and the "Baja Germany" in 2005 the Baja UK ist the third event which could die because of these extremely costs. "This is again a story that the FIA is not supporting this sport, the FIA is killing this sport. You have to pay heavy amounts to the FIA - but you have no better deal with them. Especially for smaller companies this will make it impossible to create a FIA-Event" a Italian FIA-specialist said.

Marches 4x4 Motorsport Management Limited were looking at the sad option of being forced to cancel Britain's premier off-road event after it had reached the prestigious status of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, after five years work by their dedicated team.

Despite officials' discussing the event in detail with both the MSA and its commercial arm, International Motor Sports, no solution could be found to come up with a rescue package for the event, which was partly financed in 2007 by the chairman of the organising committee, Chris Tomley.

This is devastating news for the organisers who have been inundated with requests for regulations from all over Europe and the Middle East and expect record entries. Interest has been intense since they visited the Italian Baja in March. There is a fabulous new location for the HQ and service area and great stages, which have been in place since before Christmas. "We are desperate to find a solution to ensure the retention of this FIA world class event, after all the work that has gone into establishing it," said a disappointed Tomley.

"Wales Rally GB is off the rota in 2010 in favour of Rally Ireland and so this event, running annually, would have been perfect back-up for Wales. We contributed some £400,000-plus to the local economy last year and with a larger event this year, anticipated that doubling in 2008.

"This year we already have many teams who have committed their budgets, are arranging their visas and booking accommodation, including the two leading drivers in the Cup, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Tina Thorner from the BMW X-raid Team and Boris Gadasin of the Russian NART TIME Team.

"Many other countries want to get into the FIA Cup. Last year we joined Italy, Spain and Portugal, making four rounds. Two candidate events also ran and the Hail Saudi Baja and Hungarian Baja came in this year, making six rounds. The Russian Northern Forest Baja ran as a candidate in February and will be in the Cup next year making seven rounds.

"If we drop out, there are plenty waiting to take our place including two more candidate events running this year in Thailand and Cambodia," added Tomley. "The shortfall is between 120k and 150k. If there is anybody out there with passion to support this event, please come forward. The event must be cancelled by the start of next week if no solution can be found."

2008/08/05 | 21:47 CET | Editor: MR/HS

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