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October 18, 2007

Mondello Opts Out of 2008 British Superbike Championship


Following five years as part of the BSB calendar and following careful consideration, Mondello Park has decided not to take up its option to run a round of the British Superbike Championship in 2008.

With the BSB teams looking to reduce the number of races for budgetary reasons, and the fact that it costs Mondello considerably more to host a round than any of the British circuits, the County Kildare venue has decided not to take up its place on the 2008 calendar.

The decision comes despite an offer from the MCRCB to allow the Irish round to run over two days, rather than the normal three day event, which would have resulted in reduced costs for the teams, but not for the circuit.

Mondello Park is unique among the circuits on the BSB calendar in that along with higher fixed costs for running Irelands BSB round than British venues incur, the circuit also funds the team's travel to the tune of €130,000 annually. This travel fund has primarily been provided by Failte Ireland, with assistance from Stena Line, but due to a change in policy towards “arena events”, tourism funding reduced in 2007.

This factor in conjunction with Mondello offering reduced price tickets to this years event, contributed to the circuit losing money on its 07 BSB round. The reduced backing from Failte Ireland is unlikely to increase significantly for 2008 and as a result it is not currently viable for Mondello to continue to host a round of the British championship.

Speaking of the decision Mondello Park’s Managing Director, John Morris said;

 “Obviously we’re very disappointed, but we could never have hosted BSB without Failte Ireland and we’re extremely grateful to them for their support of a multitude of events at Mondello Park over the last 7 years. There is a great spin off from the big international events for the local community and I’m as disappointed for them as for ourselves and the many Irish and UK fans of the Mondello event.

However, Mondello Park is a business and it’s a commercial reality that we cannot run events that either lose money, or are simply too marginal to take the risk. We may be out for 08, but clearly we’ll continue to work to try and put a deal in place in 09 and beyond. We’ve simply invested too much in both the venue and BSB and we’ve made many new friends along the way. I’m confident that this isn’t the end for BSB at Mondello Park”.

In order to keep a major motorcycle event on the circuit’s calendar Mondello Park is considering the possibility of running a big prize money open event on the Sunday before the NW200. Morris commented;

“Many of the principle teams will be coming to Ireland for the North West and they may be interested in trying to head there with some extra prize money in their pockets. We have the date pencilled in on our calendar and if there is sufficient interest, we’ll certainly look at putting the prize fund in place”