Why the 'circuit of wales' is bollocks

2y ago

32.5K

Words: Shaun Pope - Images: Fantasy Land

Like every other red-blooded Welshman with a penchant for motorsports, the idea of a world-class racing circuit on my doorstep filled me with excitement. Sure enough this excitement and buzz captured the imagination not only of the impoverished locals who were sold the idea of jobs, but of people up and down the UK.

Now, three years on from the birth of the project and the only building work that has been carried out is £35,000 of work on the CEO's garden. The only problem is that garden is attached to Michael Carrick's £2.8m mansion in Cambridge...

Michael Carrick - the 'Circuit Of Wales' boss. Loves gardening. Prefers not to pay for it himself though...

Yes, that's right. The greasy looking fellow above had £35,000 of landscaping work done on his own house that was paid for using the Welsh Government money. He replied "It's just very unfortunate really". Unfortunate he got caught I'm sure you'll agree.

By now you'll realise those in charge of the Circuit Of Wales project are a slippery bunch, made up of hedge fund managers, investor partnerships and people who know absolutely bugger all about motorsport or running a race track. These are money men looking for big profit. The problem is race tracks don't return big profits - most of the UK's circuits are struggling financially. They also cost HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS to build.

We'll leave this big white elephant right here. Careful, he bites.

So what's going on here? Well - here's what I think

Carrick and his buddies have targeted Ebbw Vale for a few reasons. Primarily due to the socio-economic struggles in the area. It has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the UK. When a company offers to create 6,000 jobs - the Welsh Government has no option but to sit up and take notice.

This also means opposition to The Circuit will be minimal. When the usual complaints of noise and endangered butterflies are raised, it's more likely they'll be suppressed because of the jobs being created - which they were. 1-0 so far.

Never. Gonna. Happen. Sorry.

Then there are the completely incapable idiots at the Welsh Assembly who have been handing out taxpayer cash like it's going out of fashion. Edwina Hart has repeatedly ignored requests from senior civil servants to stop Welsh Government money going directly to Mr Carrick's company "Aventa Partners". In times of economic trouble, why is she so keen to sign millions of pounds over? Is she getting a bit of it herself in backhanders? Maybe she just really really wants a racing circuit at Ebbw Vale so she can meet Valentino Rossi and get her elbow down on her track bike - although she doesn't strike me as a keen trackdayer or MotoGP fan come to think of it...

Edwina Hart. Knows nothing about racetracks either - happy to hand over £10m against the advice of colleagues. In her spare time she's a Jabba The Hutt tribute act

By now you'll have got the gist of things. The whole project stinks to high heaven. Millions in taxpayer money has been spent (some of it on the boss' garden) and we're even further from a circuit than ever.

I could also go into details about £400,000 of your money that was spent on FTR Moto, a company that builds frames for Moto2 bikes. They were wound up earlier this month. There are also shady dealings with property financing, mortgages and transfers of cash and assets that get more complex the further you look into them. These aren't the actions of a transparent, legitimate company looking to build a race track.

FTR Moto. Your taxes paid £400,000 for them. Now they're bankrupt.

The bulk of the money was due to come from insurance giant Aviva. Of course when they looked at the business plan they realised it wasn't economically viable and sacked it off. Why £10m of our money went into Mr Carrick's pockets BEFORE all of this happened remains a mystery. Politics is a filthy game at the best of times so we probably won't get answers in a shady world of smoke, mirrors and backhanders.

One thing's for certain though. The Circuit Of Wales wasn't, isn't and probably never will happen.

UPDATES

At the end of June, it was finally announced that the Welsh Assembly would not be going ahead with funding for the circuit. This was after throwing £9m of public funds towards the company before deciding not to press ahead with the rest.Instead, economy minister Ken Skates set out plans to invest £100m in a new business park close to the site of the proposed circuit which it believes could attract 1,500 jobs.

Michael Carrick said of the Welsh Government: "They have not shared their concerns with us. After 28 meetings [in the last year], none of these points were communicated to us."

He claimed that without the construction of a racetrack with testing facilities, the government would struggle to attract companies to Blaenau Gwent.

New Love food? Try foodtribe.
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
0
Loading...