As predicted earlier this week on Crash.net
, the International Disciplinary Court has today (Wednesday) announced its verdict on the appeal by the WCM team over their disqualification from the South African (and subsequent) Grands Prix for alleged technical infringements.
The Court, composed of Mrs. Clotilde Galy (President), Messrs Vassilis Koussis and Wojcziech Tomczyk, convened on May 16 at the FIM headquarters in Mies, Switzerland, in a public hearing.
The Harris-WCM motorcycles were disqualified for non-conformity with Art. 2.2.1 of the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations (the prototype rules) – because their R1 based engine was felt by the FIM to not be of an 'original design'.
WCM team manager Mr Peter Clifford was present at the hearing, together with his lawyers Mr. Ian Mill (QC), Mr Mike Brookes and Mrs Jane Mulcahy.
Messrs Oriol Puig Bulto, President of the FIM International Technical Panel, Fabio Fazi, CTI Vice-President, David Hagen, consultant engineer, and Robert Fleck, expert engineer, were present as witnesses and experts.
In brief, Clifford argued in Court that:
"1) The Harris motorcycle of the WCM-GP LTD team must be recognised as a 4-stroke prototype compliant with the regulation, because the regulation is imprecise and open to several different interpretations which must benefit the team.
"2) Subsidiarily, the disqualification was unjustified, disproportionate and excessive."
Meanwhile, Oriol Puig Bulto expressed the following:
"In my view, it is very clear that Mr Clifford has understood the meaning of the regulation. He was working on an original design: this is proved by the mail dated 6 March in which he said that: "Our own engine will not be ready in March and we will not be able to compete at the Japanese and South Africa rounds…" (Exhibit No. 25 in the FIM file).
"He knew that he could not be ready; subsequently, time being short, he was obliged to find a solution because his contract with Dorna obliged him to participate without interruption in the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix and he had to find sponsors.
"The engine of the WCM-GP LTD team inspected by me was not an engine of original design. I am familiar with the pressures involved and I want to convey all my sympathy to Mr Clifford."
After hearing all the evidence, the following conclusion was reached: