Crisis at Croft
In the quiet region of North Yorkshire lies the only race track in the North East of England, that being of Croft Circuit. Created after the First World War, circa 1920s. But it was post-second world war where the circuit began to get its name on the racing map.
Built on an old airforce base, known as RAF Croft. Similar to that of Silverstone, but the one major difference is that the village of Croft-on-Tees is situated within reasonable walking distance of the circuit.
The turn of the century, Croft Circuit recieved a complaint by local residents due to the loud noises. But the case was rejected by Darlington District Council. And even the track managed to send out free tickets to the local residents.
But recently, within the past year, Derek and Julia Watson and the daughter Jill Wilson filed a lawsuit against Croft Circuit about ‘loud, intusive and repetitive noise’. Which they managed to win £150,000 from. The circuit would also have to pay a staggering £700,000 in Court Costs.
But as reported on britishsuperbikenews.co.uk, it is meerly a possible excuse.
“It seems rather more of a case of a bitter divorce than noise issues as it appears that Jill Wilson was once married to the Mr Wilson of Croft Promosport Ltd.”
How ironic, is it possible that the former wife is getting the way back by hitting her former husband in the place where it could sincerely hurt the most. If Croft goes, he’d be out of a job, and a scapegoat for people to say he was at fault for wrecking a British circuit.
But lets be fair, how wrong would that be if people would think that way? If we simply focus on the straight facts of the definitive truth here, the court case and these loud noises.
As I mentioned earlier, Croft has had racing at the circuit since before the First World War. So therefore there has been cars zooming past for almost ninety years. That is approaching a century. In theory, the Watson family would not have been there for that amount of time. Wouldn’t it have been wiser just to research the area first, work out that the place you may be buying just so happens to be a stone’s throw away from hitting a BTCC cars windshield.
Don’t you just think for one minute, that if you want to settle down with a family, researching the village you are planning on living in. You research near train stations, bus routes and attractions in the area. Surely you may just notice a couple of grandstands and a few trucks going in and out of the circuit.
This can lead onto the plausible case of just suing the circuit as she is getting a divorce from her ex-husband. How does a court case stand when you do actually know about a track being there, and when Mr Wilson and Mrs Watson were together, I bet she was happy the circuit was there as it would be bringing in the money into the household. Surely its just simply bitterness that she is wrecking the fun and enjoyment of everyone else to get back at one person.
The side effects of this could be horrific on motorsport in the United Kingdom. Initially, track days have been reduced by ten days, now just forty days a year. But if Croft Circuit are unable to pay off the debts, then the major attractions could just walk out. British Touring Car Championship and the British Superbikes are the headline acts.
If they go, the entire North East of England will be without a race track. The nearest one’s in being Knockhill in Dunfermline (around a three hours and fifteen minutes from Newcastle), Cadwell Park in Yorkshire (three hours twenty drive) and Oulton Park just south of Liverpool (three hours fifteen). For those who are just aiming for a quick drive to a local track, like Croft, which is less than an hour away from Newcastle.
It could also set a precedent from complaints against tracks across the UK, and possibly around the world. Castle Combe, near Bristol, was hit with a noise restriction meaning they were not allowed Formula 3 cars around the track. Donnington Park is set to host the British Grand Prix from 2010 onwards, however since it is close to Derby, the noise of Formula 1 cars may be heard, and thus allowing complaints to be made, and possibly the banning of Formula 1 circuits. If Bernie Ecclestone does not want to go back to Silverstone, it may be a harsh end to Britain hosting Formula 1 World Championship races.
Monza has also had complaints, near to the town of the same name, due to Formula 1 restrictions. And whilst complaints would be worth and should be listened to if a track has been steam rolled through a town or village and disrupts people who live there for longer than the track. But if a circuit has been there for years before hand, what rights should people have for complaining about it? Absolutly none.