After the debacle at Donington, where an overly ambitious plan to raise 130 million Pounds Sterling to modify the track to host Formula One was launched shortly before the credit crunch sent the global economy on a downward spiral, it was feared that international motorcycle racing would never return to the Leicestershire track. The company that was running the track was basically penniless, parts of the track had been already dug up, and East Midlands airport, which sits at one end of the track, was eying the track for extra space to expand into.
But with the track lease now back in the hands of the Wheatcroft family, who own the circuit, things have turned around at Donington. The Midlands' circuit has been brought quickly back up to standard, hosting several local car and motorcycle events, and is now ready to make a return to the international stage. That will take place on March 27th, 2011, when the World Superbike series returns to Donington for the European round of the 13 weekend series. The Wheatcroft family and Infront Motor Sports signed an agreement which will see WSBK race at Donington for the 2011 season, giving the UK two rounds of World Superbikes, along with the Silverstone round on July 31st.
The only worry about the Donington round is surely its date: late March can be very cold and wet in the hills surrounding the Leicestershire circuit, and may be a culture shock after the opening round at Phillip Island a month earlier, in the late Australian summer. Given Phillip Island's legendarily fickle weather, however, Donington could well turn out to be the second cold, wet and windy round of World Superbikes next season, if the Southern Ocean decides to play up.