Peter Clifford, Director of Racing at the World Championship Motorsports (WCM) team has released the following detailed statement in which he strongly contests the basis for his team's disqualification from the Africa's Grand Prix.

The statement is reproduced in full below and includes the revelation that Harris WCM are intending to build road machines:

"...It would be incredibly sad though if the FIM's decision not to let us race while we are appealing their decision aborts a new motorcycle industry. We have not previously publicly made reference to our hopes for this project but this has been a major part of the motivation for us..."

After the statement is a reproduction of the original disqualification notice handed to the team outlining why they were disqualified. Peter Clifford then challenges the issues in it.

Clifford is pictured in South Africa with the FIM rulebook in hand.

Statement by Peter Clifford:

"It is with some sadness that I have to confirm that we are unable to take part in the Africas Grand Prix following a ruling by the FIM stewards that they consider our Harris WCM machine illegal. An opinion that we completely disagree with.

"The decision of the FIM Stewards overturned a 3 to 1 vote by the Race Direction that there were no grounds to exclude us from the event. The single vote was from the FIM representative on the Race Direction. The FIM appealed that decision to the FIM stewards. The FIM stewards agreed with the FIM.

"I notified the stewards that we shall appeal this decision and requested most strongly that we be allowed to race pending the appeal. That request was refused even though I believe such a refusal is unprecedented in anything like similar circumstances within the history of the FIM World Championship.

"It is quite beyond me to imagine how the sport is in any way compromised by our team being able to compete pending appeal. If the appeal goes in our favour we cannot be given back the chance to compete in this Grand Prix.

"Our whole Harris WCM project has been carried out with absolute commitment to the spirit of MotoGP racing, to develop this season a prototype machine entirely of our own design and that of our technical partners.

"We agreed with Harris at the beginning of this project that we would each put in the maximum effort because the potential was so huge. Though the immediate goal was to compete successfully in 2003 World Championship we realised that it go far beyond that. Developing a WCM engine not only presented a large potential racing market but also opened up the opportunity to produce our own road bikes.

"We realised that we were initiating a project of unlimited scope. It was a perfect example of what on the face of it was a very difficult situation presenting the chance to do something we would not otherwise have contemplated. We are fully aware that the window of opportunity to achieve success in this was small. Every race is vital to us for so many reasons. The most obvious being we need the track time to develop the engine and bike and we need the public exposure to attract backers to the project. Missing any race has a terrible knock-on effect on our competitiveness for the rest of the season.

"The window of opportunity is so small because if we don't succeed in making progress this season we will probably have to take the Easy option' of forming a partnership with one of the major manufacturers for the 2004 season. To that end Mr. Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna has been tremendously supportive, stating that no matter what the outcome this year our contract with Dorna and the two valuable places that it secures us on the grid in the long term is secure.

"It would be incredibly sad though if the FIM's decision not to let us race while we are appealing their decision aborts a new motorcycle industry. We have not previously publicly made reference to our hopes for this project but this has been a major part of the motivation for us.

"The effects of the FIM's actions are hard to exaggerate, not just for WCM and Harris but for the riders and our other technical partners all of whom have generously committed to a team that was in an extremely difficult situation at the end of the 2002 season.

"The imbalance is quite extraordinary; the damage done to us in not allowing us to compete compared with damage done to no one that I can see had we raced while under appeal."

Peter Clifford
Director of Racing
World Championship Motorsports

Welkom
26/4/2003.

Reproduction of the Harris WCM disqualification notice:

Welkom 23rd April, 2003.

To the FIM representative Mr Claude Danis

Verification of the Harris WCM motorcycles (MotoGP class).

We undersigned Mrs. Oriol Puig Bulto (FIM CTI President) and Fabio Fazi (CTI Vice President) in the presence of Mr. Mike Webb (Technical Director MotoGP), visited the WCM Team to check the engine of the Harris WCM motorcycles entered in the MotoGP class.

According with our visual inspection and with Mr. Peter Clifford's declaration, the crankcase/cylinder and cylinder head are original parts made by Yamaha for its R1 model production motorcycle.

Comment

In accordance with art. 2.2.1 of the 2003 Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations, we believe there is an infringement of the rules for the following reasons:

1) The Harris WCM motorcycle does not have an engine of its own original design, because the engine concept, layout and main parts are Yamaha. The art 2.2.1 states "A four stroke prototype must have an engine of original design."

2) The Harris WCM motorcycle is using major engine castings derived from the Yamaha R1 model, which is a well known industrial product, sold in several thousand units. The art 2.2.1 states: "...must not use casting of the crankcase, cylinder or cylinder head derived from the industrial production."

(Signed) Oriol Puig Bulto and Fabio Fazi

Response from Peter Clifford:

"Addressing the legality points raised by the FIM with respect to the WCM MotoGP engine

"As you can see from the attached document that they submitted to the Race Direction the FIM claim that our motorcycle is illegal on two points within regulation 2.2.1 of the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations

"FIM Point 1. Original design

"I believe that every important power and performance-producing component, profile and dimension within the engine is unique to our motorcycle. Specifically; -

The bore and stroke.
The size of the valves, both inlet and exhaust.
The shape of the combustion chamber.
The design, dimensions, material and manufacturer of the valve seats
The shape of the inlet and exhaust tracts.
The length of the inlet and exhaust.
The shape of the crankcases both internally and externally.
The lubrication system, i.e. oil flow rate, oil pressure, sump design, surge control.
The wall thickness of the cylinders.
The weight of the crankcases.
The electronic engine management system.
The design, dimensions, material and manufacturer of the pistons.
The design, dimensions, material and manufacturer of the valves.
The design, dimensions and manufacturer of the cams.
The design, dimensions, material and manufacturer of the conrods.
The design, dimensions, material and manufacturer of the crankshaft.
The design, dimensions and manufacturer of the clutch.
The design, dimensions and manufacturer of the primary gears.
The design, dimensions and manufacturer of the gears.

"I am sure that our design is just as original as other manufacturers in MotoGP.

"On Wednesday we gave the FIM unrestricted access to any and all of our engines including one that was disassembled. They took some digital photos but made no measurements so how they determined that the design is not original is entirely beyond me. It is after all for them to prove that we are not original rather than the other way round. There is no homologation ' requirement in MotoGP.

"FIM Point 2. Industrial production.

"Last week I emailed the FIM pointing out that I felt that the term Industrial Production' had no meaning in this situation. I said:-

"All crankcases and indeed all motorcycle parts are made by "industrial
production" so any cast engine will "use castings of the crankcase, cylinder or cylinder head derived from the industrial production."

"Either all cast engines are legal or all are illegal. Please tell me which it is.

"I received no response.

"I cannot see how the term Industrial production' provides any definition at all. The FIM are well used to putting numbers to such definitions as they do for homologation of superbikes etc. There is no number in this definition at all so it is irrelevant if our cases are cast in their 10s or 1,000s. They are equally Industrial production' as are the cases cast by Honda, Yamaha etc. for their MotoGP machines. It is impossible to make an engine that is not Industrial production.'

"According to the FIM's definition of illegality as they have applied it to us the sport is faced with the prospect of the entire MotoGP grid being protested and found illegal on exactly the same point.

"During his submission to the Race Direction the FIM's Mr. Oriol Puig Bulto (CTI President) stated that the rule did need some clarification and that he intended to make changes at a later date. He repeated the same assertion before the stewards. We are found illegal by the FIM on a point that the FIM says needs clarification and the rule re-writing."

Peter Clifford
Director of Racing
World Championship Motorsports

Welkom
26/4/2003.

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