It’s been clear for a number of years that the government hates motorsport. It doesn’t matter who’s in charge, or what colour tie they wear, they thoroughly despise it. And although most of us were already aware, this whole coronavirus debacle has certainly confirmed it.
This week’s news, that only 4,000 people can spectate at Oulton Park for the opening round of BSB, should come as no surprise. Even though you’re allowed to squeeze 10,000 people into a football stadium. And even though weddings can go ahead with unlimited numbers; yeah, weddings, where social distancing is absolutely not going to happen. What’s the sense in letting some events happen unrestricted, and others with such reduced numbers.
Oulton Park is a massive venue. It’s certainly way bigger than any football stadium this side of the Milky Way. But we’re allowed less than half the people, trackside. Does anyone have an explanation? I do. The government simply hates motorsport.
And it’s not just evident in the latest bout of restrictions. They’ve always hated motorsport; bike racing in particular. Last year, Sport England ‘invested’ (I used the term invested loosely) £250m into sports. Have a guess how much of that got spent on bike racing. That’s right. Nil. Nada. Diddly squat. No, bike racing isn’t even close to being on their radar. And I’m not sure it ever will.
I used to think that if we had a British bloke winning loads of races at international level, bike racing would all of a sudden become as popular as it is in Spain and Italy. That was before Johnny Rea won six out of six WSBK titles and nothing changed back here in Blighty; and Jonathon Rea still isn’t a household name. Maybe he should hang the leathers up and go on one of them stupid jungle TV programs that people without a life watch.
I don’t understand how so many people can love some sports (like football), but so few people can love bike racing. I’m not having a go at football, there’s nothing wrong with it, but what’s so good about it compared to bike racing. What’s more exciting than watching bikes battling for the lead at over 100mph? Not football. Not tennis. But it doesn’t seem to matter; motorsport always seems to get the shitty end of the stick.
So I’ve got an idea. Let’s organise a football match at Oulton park, the weekend of the first round of BSB, so we can get 10,000 through the gates. Or we could stage a protest on the grounds of Oulton Park. It doesn’t matter what the march is about, we’ll think of something when we get there; that’s what protesters usually do, isn’t it?
Or better still, organise a wedding. A wedding at Oulton Park that everyone is invited to. That’ll teach them, won’t it? It’d also give the people in charge something to talk about in the Commons bar, whilst they’re sipping beers that you and I, and everyone else has paid for.
I stopped trying to attribute any logic to the government’s responses to the pandemic a while ago, but this latest one has really annoyed me. It’s complete nonsense, it makes no sense and it’s downright unfair. Still, we’ll be able to put this whole thing behind us soon won’t we? It’ll just be another four weeks… or will it?