India World Superbike Round Set To Be Canceled?

The Indian round of World Superbikes looks increasingly likely to be canceled. Rising costs and logistical problems mean that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Indian World Superbike round, scheduled for the 17th November this year at the Buddh International Circuit to go ahead. 

There have been rumblings about the WSBK round for months now, but at Silverstone, the issue became ever more pressing. A report appeared on German-language website Speedweek, and several paddock sources confirmed to the problems the Indian race posed, and that their preference was for the entire event to be canceled.

At the heart of the issue is the matter of how the Indian government views motorsport. For various reasons, motorsport - of both the two- and four-wheeled variety - is not regarded as a sport, and so any motorsports event is treated as if all of the equipment necessary is an ordinary import and export operation, with all of the bureaucracy that entails. For the World Superbike paddock, this means that all of the bikes would have to be entered at customs a month before the race was set to take place, that the customs procedures would have to be started three months ahead of the November 17th date, and that the teams would have to pay import duty over the value of their equipment, and then try to claim it back again once they leave.

The race is a logistical nightmare, and a massive expense for cash-strapped teams to face. Teams have already lost large sums from the previous cancellation of the event - Speedweek quotes figures of 30,000 euros for teams with four riders - and are afraid to book flights and hotels while there is such uncertainty over the race.

There is little hope that Dorna can get the Indian government to make an exception for the World Superbike round. Even the mighty Bernie Ecclestone has been forced to reschedule the Indian round of F1 at the circuit over similar concerns, with the Indian tax and customs authorities unwilling to cooperate with Formula One. The only hope is that political forces inside of India can be mustered to change the way motorsports are regarded in India, slashing bureaucracy and ease the passage of racing vehicles in and out of the country.

If the Indian round of World Superbikes is scrapped, it will be an unwelcome development for both Dorna and the Japanese manufacturers. India is regarded as a growth market, both for motorcycle racing and for the sale of motorcycles. All parties involved are keen to go, to raise the profile of the sport and promote their brands to the 1.2 billion Indians in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

An announcement on the Indian round of World Superbikes is expected very soon, according to Speedweek. If it is canceled, then the series will terminate at Jerez on the 20th of October.

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Last month, Round 3 of Petronas Asian Road Racing Championship was held here at Madras Motor Sports Club, Chennai as has been the case for past few years without any issues. Then why there's a problem in case of WSBK?

In India, there are lot more Bike Racing enthusiasts than F1 Racing.

This issue would have been easily resolved if the races, be it Motogp, WSBK or F1 were being held at a different circuit.

The circuit is built, owned & operated by Jaypee group in which former Indian Olympics Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi is a shareholder. He was dismissed from that position and arrested over multiple irregularities and corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi.

Every politician in India knows he is tainted and no one wants to be seen to be helping him (even though every one of them is as corrupt as SK) which is the reason no action is being taken to reduce the bureaucracy.

Like i said, if it were any other circuit, this would have been resolved by now....Bit of a shame really.....

I think we all saw this coming. Despite India being a hugely important market for the motorcycle industry and a burgeoning bike racing fan base, it's a nightmare to do business there. You can all thank the wonderfully convoluted, corrupt, and bureaucratic Indian government for that.

are a known nightmare. It usually costs you money to get your own cash back/out of the country. The pace of every related process is glacially slow. It took my company nearly 12 months to get our money out after waiting 9 months to get the money from the clients bank to our own (yes this was a first-time effort but it was 10 times more difficult than in any other country we operated in). Only after a local agent charged us a fee - what he did with it I can only guess - did we get our hands on it. The hassle put us off further business. The teams concerns are very valid - large corporates can tolerate this sort of thing but it's hugely diverting of scarce resources and cash for smaller businesses.
This type of bureaucracy/law was OK when India was a (virtually) closed economy but in a global age it holds it back in all sorts of areas, not just sport.
In China when someone says 'make it happen' it just gets done. In India someone wants to 'negotiate the terms' of how his 'brother/friend' makes it happen for you.
I only hope that these rules can be sorted out to create a level field for everyone - it would be good to see these races happen.

well, that's just fucking great, isn't it ? what a shameful affair as an indian myself. massive amount of motor racing fans around here in this country, all of them dying for motogp and wsbk to come here, but yes we citizens here are all too familiar with the corrupt and inefficient politics and bureaucracy here.

if even F1 is considering cancelling its indian round (and F1 also has massive fans here, much more than bike racing obviously, since car racing and F1 in particular are among the mainstream and biggest sports), well, no wonder the much more niche sport of motorcycle racing at international level is getting killed even before entering here.

as someone pointed out correctly above, the madras and coimbatore race tracks (these are in south india and much older than the buddh circuit which is the new one and in north india) have been hosting smaller scale races for ages..yamaha and honda one-make national championships (YZF R15 v2 and CBR 150R respectively), some asian championship races, etc. it seems it's only the buddh track that gets the complicated and bullshit issues, on account of being something of a much larger scale..although, from this year, one of the rounds of the yamaha R15 one-make championship is to be held at the buddh...pity the madras and coimbatore tracks are not at the international level, certainly not motogp and wsbk level, in terms of whatever qualities one demands from an international level track..

This bit of news will make every Indian like me cringe with shame. It is stupidity at its colossal best and a reaffirmation of the idea that Indian politicians and bureaucrats are a confused lot, with neither knowing what is the right thing to do. Motorsport is "not a sport but it is entertainment", so is cricket a sport, especially when you consider that the T20 format is openly considered by the cricketing authority to be a replacement for "movies" to which we Indians are addicted? Spectating of any sporting event is for purposes of entertainment, otherwise are we saying that those who sitting in the stadia are learning from watching a sport?

The problem with the government is that it still has stupid notions of "elitism" which is a result of the jingoism of the past where even owning a scooter was considered to be elitist. The Indian economy today is openly capitalist and properly integrated into the global economy but politicians and bureaucrats are still caught in the old mind set. But the same people will be quite happy to play cronies to the big capitalist conglomerates such as the Reliance group, the Tata group etc. What is even more a cause for concern is that all this is out in the open and the politician-bureaucrat combine are brazenly unashamed of this. It is a great pity for India. No wonder there is no Indian anywhere in the world of motorsport and even in regular sports like the Olympics, India's medal tally is lesser than that of a Surinam, Kenya etc.

Strike again!

Wasn't it them who 'organised' this race?

And the track owner is known as corrupt. Gee whiz? Truly?

Its the Indian taxation laws that are the culprit. As Motorsports are not considered as a 'Sport' in india, the Equipment,motorcycles in this case, are liable for paying excise and custom duty. These levies can go up to 110% of the cost of the motorcycle and this prohibitive cost is the crux of the matter it seems. The racing teams should make invoices of a much lower amount,say like the base price of the road-legal bike, of about 10k $ and pay the excise and duty on that. It is cheating but thats how my country operates :(

but I must say that the response of what I assume to be the Indian nationals here is refreshing. By acknowledging the problems and speaking openly about it they are half way to solving the problems.

I wish them well.

I am thinking about twitter bombing M.S Dhoni owner of Mahi India Kawasaki team to talk to his member of Parliament friend and ex-cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Hopefully they can interfere and make some special recommendations.

typlical Indian politics...and politicians. Doesn't matter even if rest of the world is involved.

In this case, the whole customs thing can get overlooked with one 'memo'. there is lots of stuff that comes through customs and makes it out easily enough, all you got to do is slide some cash under the table to the right person. Clearly, someone doesn't want this race to happen and is in a higher position than the ones who want the race to happen.