Hesketh bike event halted

2008-07-13 00:00

DISGRUNTLED Hayfields residents stopped a motorcycle race meeting at the old Roy Hesketh race track, which was disturbing the peace on Saturday.

The event at the Roy Hesketh Motor Club and Country Estate was cut short when noise levels exceeded an acceptable limit and Hayfields residents complained to the municipality about the “unbearable” amount of noise.

Hayfields ward councillor Sandy Lyne said the owners of the property failed to honour an agreement on the use of the property.

“I am gravely concerned about the noisy racing that took place … at the Roy Hesketh Circuit in violation of the agreement,” she said.

She said the property was sold to the Roy Hesketh Racing Foundation (RHRF) for purposes which included:

• The restoration of the remaining portions of the historic track, including the construction of a new link to create a complete circuit;

• The construction of five residential clusters around the circuit;

• The construction of a motor club complex housing a proposed museum, exhibition centre and conference facility;

• The establishment of passive recreational facilities open to the public;

• The use of the circuit for six classic car events a year, one of which would be an international event; cycle and driver trainer training programmes and to launch motor products.

Lyne said that according to the agreement, the land may not be used for any other purposes.

“The public complaints have been brought to the attention of the foundation in writing, and a warning by the officials has been issued that should it fail to observe the conditions of the agreement with council, steps will to taken to enforce the agreement.”

Lyne said that if the situation does not improve, neighbouring residents are invited to submit complaints to her by e-mail at sandylyne@sai.co.za or to call 082 896 5264.

She appealed to residents to provide details of the offending activities together with photographs, if possible, and details of vehicles, such as registration numbers, sponsors’ names and type.

Event organiser Roshan Kali said, “It’s not illegal racing, but we are trying to improve bikers’ racing skills.”

About 50 bikers attended the event. Kali said some had travelled from Durban and the Free State.

One of the local bikers, a former DA councillor in the area, Alex Kimble, said the Hesketh circuit could promote the city.

“Holding events like this can promote Pietermaritzburg; it can help improve property value and become a perfect drawcard for business.”

He also argued that residents should not complain about noise because such events are held on Saturdays and on weekdays when most people are not at home.

RHRF president Mike Fogg confirmed that the event was cancelled, but declined to comment.

He promised to respond in a statement, however. The Witness was unable to reach Fogg yesterday as his cellphone was off.

Attempts to get clarity on the issue from the municipality were fruitless.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell said he was out of town and referred The Witness to acting traffic head Kenneth Chetty, who said he did not know the details of the matter.

“The race was cancelled because the organisers did not get permission from us.”

He said he would get further details about the issue at a meeting to be held today with Haswell.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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