Nothing set in stone as world championship series is linked to WA in 2020.
Words: Jeremy Hammer/Adam Wheeler
News that the MXGP World Championship would be heading to the city of Perth for the first Australian Grand Prix since 2001 emerged in surprising fashion at last weekend’s British round of the 2019 series.
Dirt High Promotions’ Willie Thomson, promoter of the prestigious Manjimup 15,000, was on-hand at the Matterley Basin venue, offering up a short interview with circuit commentator Roger Warren, mentioning that a three-year agreement was in place starting 2020.
The remark has received an overwhelming response, particularly from Australian motocross fans, however Motorcycling Australia (MA) CEO Peter Doyle declared that no deal has been agreed to, clarifying an Australian MXGP would be months away from being a possibility if discussions were to commence immediately.
“Between the relevant parties Youthstream, MA and private promoters, there are absolutely no agreements in place,” Doyle stated when contacted by MotoOnline.com.au this week. “In fact, it’s premature to talk about it because there has been no discussion on funds – there’s been no commercial discussions, so it’s still a long way off.
“We’re the underwriting insurer – we have to supply the public liability for the event. There’s a long, long way [to go] – I would say that even if we sat down now and said we’re going to work as hard as we can to get an agreement in place, it would be at least three months until we could confidently say that there could be an event – more likely six months, but maybe three.
“These discussions on MXGP [coming to Australia] are not new – there’s been numerous discussions over the last few years, but none of them have progressed. This is exactly the same position as the other ones – there’s a lot of talk, there’s a lot interest, but there are no deals.”
While Australasia is a territory that MXGP rights-holder and promoter Youthstream has been targeting for more than a decade, vice president David Luongo strengthened Doyle’s comments by saying: “We are in negotiations but nothing has been done. We hope to go back there [Australia]. It has been a long talk and it looks serious but we don’t have anything finalised yet.”
Talk has linked a grand prix being staged within the confines of Gloucester Park – a horse racing venue in the heart of Perth that has previously hosted World Rally Championship (WRC) rounds – as the second stop of the championship.
Another option is the iconic Manjimup circuit, located around 250-kilometres south of the city, which is a former Motocross of Nations venue, hosting the prestigious global motocross race in 1992.
While Perth appears a surprise location to host such an event, the Western Australian government has supported global motorsport events in the past, including both the WRC and Red Bull Air Race – both of which are no longer held in WA. The MXGP currently visits Argentina, Indonesia (twice), Russia, China and Hong Kong as flyaway fixtures.