By Kyle White
Reigning Irish Superbike champion Kirk Jamison has expressed his concern for the future of short circuit racing in Northern Ireland following a decision to effectively turn down a sponsorship package worth up to £50,000.
Jamison, who has a tyre deal with Bridgestone, conceded that he understands both sides of the argument following a riders' vote and the decision by the sport's organising body – the MCUI Ulster Centre – to reject the introduction of a Pirelli control tyre in 2012, but fears short circuit racing in Ulster could ill-afford to snub such a lucrative offer.
Jamison, who won the ISB crown for the first time this year on his BMW Superstock machine, revealed he “kept out” of the debate as a result of his deal with Bridgestone, but feels the sport will suffer as a result of the decision to reject the two-year, £50,000 deal.
“I tried as much as I could to keep out of the debate because of my own commitments to Bridgestone, but there is no money in short circuit racing right now and effectively they have turned away a major sponsor bringing £50,000 to the sport,” he said.
“We haven't had a big sponsor in Irish short circuit racing for the past 12-15 years and I feel we're not in a position to be able to turn down financial backing like that.
“I can understand the reasons why the deal wasn't accepted, but I just feel it will have a detrimental impact in the future. Obviously I'm happy that I'll be able to ride on Bridgestone tyres again, but where do we go from here?
“The control tyre money would have boosted prize money and would have been used to help promote races and I just feel maybe some riders jumped in without looking at the bigger picture here.
“It's okay saying you want to be able to pick and choose your own tyres, but without any sponsorship or financial backing then four years down the line there might not be any short circuit racing, so it's a decision that could backfire,” added Jamison.
“A lot of the riders who voted were mid-field riders and riders finishing down the order and they maybe didn't take the time to think it through properly or look at the full facts.”