Plug gets pulled after ‘bombshell’ news

ORGANISERS of the 30th anniversary Alderney speed and hill climb weekend have red-flagged their event after a late ‘bombshell’ about the northern isle’s hospital situation.

The place for pace: Andy Digard leaves the line at a previous Alderney weekend with Fort Tourgis in the background. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 29985054)
The place for pace: Andy Digard leaves the line at a previous Alderney weekend with Fort Tourgis in the background. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 29985054)

That was how Guernsey Kart and Motor Club president Alan Trustum described a sudden revelation from the States, which arrived days before the planned start of a popular festival with 80 entries.

A States of Guernsey review had found that the hospital would be overwhelmed and unable to cope with any serious incident, due to staff shortages and ongoing cover of Covid cases.

That ultimately led organisers to abandon all racing plans.

‘The speeds in Alderney are horrendous – it’s the fastest event in the Channel Islands,’ Trustum said.

‘They said if there was a significant injury to one of the competitors, the hospital would not be able to cope.’

The States communications came just before the reporting of two Covid-related hospital deaths in Alderney, but the late notice proved quite untimely for the club.

Among the scores of competitors and officials involved in the three-day event, some had already travelled over.

Ever-present official Roger King was not among them – and he dropped his flight at late notice after the news.

But he recalled an unfortunate phone call with fellow stalwart Richard Pattimore, who had travelled early to set up the timing system.

‘He said, “I am putting cables out”, and I said, “You might have to pick them back up again”,’ he said.

King added: ‘I’ve aborted, but quite a few have decided they are still going to go [for a holiday]. It’s just the lost money.’

Alderney photographer and GP representative David Nash has a great affinity for the event and called the news a ‘great disappointment for us all’, alongside raising his concerns over lost sports tourism revenue.

‘This could have quite a hard impact on the late-season hospitality economy,’ he said.

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