FIM, the governing body for the majority of top level motorcycle racing series, has confirmed that the Russian round of the World Superbike Championship has been cancelled due to political concerns.
Unrest in neighboring Ukraine resulted in Russian intervention in the Crimea, which recently held a referendum with the aim of becoming part of the Russian Federation. In an NBC News report today, it was confirmed that Ukrainian forces would attempt to regain control of official buildings from pro-Russian militant separatists, and tensions in the region look set to rumble on.
As a result, the decision has been taken by the FIM to cancel the Russian round of the championship. Two races were set to take place at the Moscow Raceway on September 21st – over five months away.
“DWO and YMS Promotion have decided to cancel the WSBK Russian Round which was scheduled to be held at Moscow Raceway on September 21st 2014,” a statement read.
“The current political situation affects the capabilities of a number of key partner companies essential to run the event. Parties regret the decision, but are confident that the strong partnership between DWO and YMS Promotion will prevail. It is a common intention to continue with the organisation of the WSBK Russian Round in 2015 and for the remainder of the contract period up to 2021.”
The FIM is yet to confirm whether or not a new round will be introduced to replace the race.
With a number of other championships set to race in Russia throughout the year, it remains to be seen just how the political situation will affect these events. The first Russian Grand Prix to be part of the Formula 1 world championship is set to take place in October in Sochi around the winter olympic park, but there have been no comments from the FIA or the promoters regarding any possible postponement.
The Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled back in 2011 due to political unrest in the wake of the Arab Spring. Despite some tensions surrounding the race each year, it has since gone ahead without any major problems.