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Peter Clifford speaks out about FIM ruling

Peter Clifford speaks out about FIM ruling

Peter Clifford speaks out about FIM ruling

WCM team boss Peter Clifford has spoken out strongly against the decision to disqualify the Harris WCM motorcycle from the Arnette Africa´s Grand Prix. The decision was taken by the FIM Stewards, who ruled that the machine was not built according to the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Technical Regulations. Clifford was incensed with the decision, and outlined the knock-on effects it could have on his long term ambitions for the project. Here are some of the main points from a statement made by Clifford in the wake of the decision.

`The decision of the FIM Stewards overturned a 3 to 1 vote by the Race Direction that there were no grounds to exclude us from the event. The single vote was from the FIM representative on the Race Direction. The FIM appealed that decision to the FIM stewards. The FIM stewards agreed with the FIM. I notified the stewards that we (would) appeal this decision and requested most strongly that we be allowed to race pending the appeal. That request was refused even though I believe such a refusal is unprecedented in anything like similar circumstances within the history of the FIM World Championship.

`It is quite beyond me to imagine how the sport is in any way compromised by our team being able to compete pending appeal… Our whole Harris WCM project has been carried out with absolute commitment to the spirit of MotoGP racing, to develop this season a prototype machine entirely of our own design and that of our technical partners.

`We agreed with Harris at the beginning of this project that we would each put in the maximum effort because the potential was so huge. Though the immediate goal was to compete successfully in 2003 World Championship we realised that it go far beyond that. Developing a WCM engine not only presented a large potential racing market but also opened up the opportunity to produce our own road bikes…

`The window of opportunity is so small because if we don't succeed in making progress this season we will probably have to take the `easy option´ of forming a partnership with one of the major manufacturers for the 2004 season. To that end Mr. Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna has been tremendously supportive, stating that no matter what the outcome this year our contract with Dorna and the two valuable places that it secures us on the grid in the long term is secure.

`It would be incredibly sad though if the FIM's decision not to let us race while we are appealing their decision aborts a new motorcycle industry. We have not previously publicly made reference to our hopes for this project but this has been a major part of the motivation for us…´

MotoGP, 2003

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