The Harris WCM team has been dealt a further blow with the news that the Court of Arbitration, the final stage in the appeal process against their disqualification, has sided with the FIM in declaring their motorcycle illegal for entry in the 2003 MotoGP World Championship.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) convened in a hearing last Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland, to judge the appeal lodged by the team against the decision of the FIM International Disciplinary Court on May 16, and the decisions taken by the FIM Stewards in Jerez and Le Mans.
Unusually, it has taken until today for the verdict to be announced, perhaps indicating the closeness of the decision.
At the Africa's Grand Prix in Welkom, the Harris WCM motorcycles were disqualified for "non-conformity to the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Technical Regulations, Art. 2.2.1. (the prototype rules)."
Subsequently, at each Grand Prix event after that date, Harris WCM were not considered eligible, as the machines were of the same design as those disqualified in Welkom.
The CAS communicated its decision this morning:
"The Court of Arbitration for Sport hereby rules:
"1. The appeals filed by WCM-GP Limited on 13 May 2003 in the case CAS 2003/A/461, on 27 May 2003 in the case 2003/A/471 and on 8 June 2003 in the case 2003/A/473 are dismissed.
"2. The Court Office fee of CHF 1'500 already paid by WCM-GP Limited shall be retained by the CAS.
"3. The Appellant shall pay CHF 5'000 to the Respondent in reimbursement of part of its costs.
"Done in Lausanne, 26 June 2003
"The Court of Arbitration for Sport
"President of the Panel (signed:) Martin Schimke."
The FIM announced that the full decision will be notified later. The decision of the CAS is final.