Motorsport industry caught between a rock and a hard place?

Motorsport industry caught between a rock and a hard place?

The Motorsport industry remains caught between a rock and a hard place to meet objectives of sustaining growth while simultaneously advancing demands for equality, diversity and inclusivity within Motorsport world. The traditional adherence of extending reach to global audience, to increase exposure of sport for all parties involved, now remains attuned with balancing the issues surrounding social, cultural and gender concerns, which have been displaced outside the realm of Motorsport bodies for far too long.

Motorsport industry caught between a rock and a hard place Photo Credit: The Dakar Rally 2021 Florent Gooden.

At heart of catch 22- damned if we do- and damned if we don’t requires breakdown on reasons for incorporating issues which exist off the track, within Motorsport structures whose mandate ultimately rests on making racing available for riders, drivers and fans.

For certain, historical records highlight the longevity of Motorsport racing, with ultimate honours going to Formula One remarkable 75 years of operation. Prestige of maintaining founding principles of racing remains equally divided amongst the world’s highest profile Championships spanning 64 years for World Motocross Championship, 49 years for AMA Motocross Championship and 42 years for The Dakar Rally.

Governing bodies have given rise to evolvement of Motorsport disciplines spreading diversity of racing from grass-roots to world Championship level. Participation in off-road, to road events remains open for any age, level, and gender whose desire to ride or race rests on availability of access to sports machine and gear.

Such top-down structures have provided a tiered system whereby athletes can transition from local, to regional, to National to International level of racing. Within this pyramid edifice, organizations hosting events, along with Motorsport industry Brands have actioned pathways to make upward trajectory of racing careers possible, all the while maintaining growth of each separate entity.

A plateau exists on how Motorsport connects the outside world to the inside world of Motorsport Photo Credit: Charly Lopez.

Yet, the nuts and bolts on how Motorsport has worked over past decades, operates in a vacuum on who can access tools to make racing possible, who can make decisions on where and when racing takes place, and who can maintain structures which rest on retaining status quo as opposed to opening doors to those outside Motorsport circle.

Closer scrutiny on structures within Federations, Event Organizations, and Media reveals a mentality on how to sustain industry standing amid highly competitive world of economics, politics and protection of interests. Reaching beyond traditional means of operation would put change ahead of status, creating knockdown effect of opening flood-gates on how racing develops for the future.

Resistance would be futile. So would, burying heads in sand on matters that issues surrounding how Federations, event organizations and Media act modus operandi in house, on track, in front of global audience will be called out by those watching. Already there are signs within global sport which question how structures operate for the good of whom?- the interests of the parties directly benefiting from an event, as opposed to parties who enter with ‘no guarantee of reward but are there to perform any way’.

Equality of choice to enter racing in whichever discipline remains conducive to access of resources. Diversity on who races remains conclusively within structure of organizations hosting events. And, Inclusivity within Motorsport industry, across all facets of racing remains at the disposable of so called few who call the shots- for now!

Header Photo: Marcelo Machado de Melo Dakar Rally 2021.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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