Thursday, 7 July 2016

Now it's The Bicester Grand Prix!

This weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone could be the last at the venue if those at the head of the sport get their way.

It has long been no secret that F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone covets holding a race around the streets of London. However the logistics of staging such an event have proved insurmountable thus far. There were a few glorified electric go-karts trundling around Battersea Park last weekend in the Formula E race, but that just doesn't cut the mustard with die-hard petrol heads.

Some Grand Prix cars having a race.

Now we have it on good authority that Bicester is being considered as a possible alternative venue. Our roving correspondent, Gerald Mincen, explains more.

"Silverstone is all well and good, but let's face it, it's not the most picturesque venue in the world. At other races you've got everything from medieval castles in the background to nice harbours with yachts and stuff. And what do we have here in Bicester, that attracts people from all over the world? Bicester Village of course! I am sure they would be only too willing to stump up the millions it will cost to put on a race here because think of the coverage it would bring them!"

Mincen went on to explain the route of the potential course.

A map of the proposed route.

"We would have the pit straight on Pingle Drive, for sure, using Bicester Village Car Park as the pits. Obviously customers wouldn't be able to park their cars there that day, but we'd just direct them into Langford Village or somewhere and then bus them in. From there we would go up Oxford Road as far as Kings End, then through Church Street, The Causeway, Market Square and back down London Road. Finally we'd turn right past the station to bring us back into Pingle Drive. It's very important that we feature Bicester Village as heavily as possible if we are going to persuade them to sponsor the event. I'm hoping we can get lots of the drivers and their girlfriends involved. Imagine that, Lewis going shopping and getting kitted out in all the latest of last year's lines. You just can't buy that sort of publicity".

Although Gerald seemed excited about the route, others were not so happy. One local F1 fan described the course as ridiculous, particularly the decision to place the DRS zone in The Causeway, claiming there wasn't room to overtake a bike down there, let alone another car.

Another resident claimed that the Grand Prix would cause traffic disruption in the area and make it difficult for her to get to Big Tesco that weekend to do a big shop.

Mincen dismissed these claims, saying "That's just Bicester residents, they're always moaning about something or other. They won't be complaining when the Grand Prix puts Bicester on the map and brings millions more visitors to the town, spending millions of pounds in Bicester Village. Think of the boost to the local economy!

Organisers of the event will be hoping that it is more successful than the last major sporting event that took place in Bicester. In 2015, a stage of the Tour De France descended into farce when the entire pelaton was held up for 25 minutes while they waited for a train to pass at the London Road crossing.

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