During these tough times across the world we caught up with well known Director of Offroad Motorsport UK and Race Director of the Bridgestone British Masters, Colin Hambridge to discuss the current situation on the association and their series plus a bit about his career in the sport.
Obviously the country is going through a tough time with COVID-19 and all events have been suspended for a period of time. This has impacted not just your Championship but everyone else’s. What’s your views on everything currently and of course people who are continuing to ride?
The country is going through a very tough time due to the on-going Coronavirus outbreak and it is sad to see all championships having to come to a sudden halt after much planning and preparation, however it is important that we all do what is right. As an organisation and a championship, we believe no one should be riding at all. The NHS health care system is already pushed during this trying time so riding just causes more demand and adds a further strain to the system.
When the day comes that we can return to riding and having events, how will the Bridgestone British Masters run, will it be a condensed calendar so a four round Championship or what are your plans?
A lot depends on the length of the shutdown. The situation seems to be changing daily and we cannot do anything until we get the go-ahead from the Government. We do have some ideas of how we will play out the 2020 season but we will need to review this once the situation with the virus has resolved. We also will have to have discussions with the other championships to try and work together. I personally think championships are up against it this year.
A lot of people know you for your dedication and commitment to the sport over the years from your time as a rider to working with the BSMA and now a Director to Offroad Motorsport UK. Can you give us a bit more information on your career within the sport and your highlight?
I started my racing in the AMCA with my brothers and we all had a fantastic time. I packed up racing to get married and I managed to make a return to the track a few years later but unfortunately had to stop due to a bad accident and break. Once our son wanted to race, which was about the time of the Foot and Mouth epidemic, we had to go to BSMA and again we enjoyed ourselves between his various hospital visits. Peter Ingram approached me to work with the BSMA and run the first ever GT Cup championship. This was a great success. Then I helped the BSMA run their own championship before leaving to set up Offroad Motorsport UK with the existing YMSA team. That started off very tough with many obstacles put in our way however I feel we are definitely getting there now. At the very same time of all of that I ran and still continue to run my own motocross club with a few other volunteers, Coventry Junior Motocross Club.
The Bridgestone British Masters series is known within the UK as the biggest amateur championship. It has taken some time to get where the series is today, can you give us a bit more background on how you have built the series up?
Through bloody hard work, the love of the sport and the people involved! It’s not about money, everything we make at our championship is ploughed back into the championship for the following year to make it bigger and better!
Ken Winstanley approached us to see if we wanted to try and bring back the British Masters with Pirelli as the title sponsor. Ken retired after 12 months and we replaced the title sponsors with Bridgestone and ever since the championship has gone from strength to strength. Now the series is full by September for the year ahead with a waiting list for all groups! The highlight to me was standing in the Hospitality Bar at the final round of the 2019 series at Cusses Gorse, I wasn’t too well that weekend due to a severe infection and nearly missed the event myself, but I stood there and was watching everyone come together and enjoying the superb end of season party with the DJ and funfair – it was magic to watch!
I am extremely lucky to have a brilliant team working with me behind of the scenes of the championship who work tirelessly to ensure the events are run smoothly and we are always looking for new things to bring into the championship to keep it current, such as the prize money for the individual who sets the fastest time in qualifying per group and a car for the pro classes series winners. I am also very lucky to have a fantastic sponsorship support base who are all brilliant to work with and we value their support immensely.