There are calls for a “safe but significant” increase in the numbers of spectators admitted to events at Knockhill Racing Circuit in Fife.
Local MP Douglas Chapman visited the venue shortly after it hosted the Bennetts British Superbike Championship earlier this month.
Only 1,000 spectators could attend the championship in person due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Chapman, the SNP member for Dunfermline and West Fife, said: “Knockhill Racing Circuit is an iconic Scottish venue renowned for hosting major events safely and attracting large crowds in normal times, and the motorsport events bring in a lot of income to the Fife economy.
“While everyone accepts the need to follow Scottish Government restrictions on events given the Covid-19 pandemic, venues can apply to have their crowd numbers increased if they think they have a special case to be considered.
“I believe Knockhill’s special case is strong as it’s a huge open-air venue sprawled across 220 acres of land, which people can only reach by private transport and they arrive at the venue in small groups.
“All ticket sales are completed in advance to assist track and trace teams, and staff have gone above and beyond to roll out extra measures to keep people safe including in areas such as toilets and at on-site catering venues.
“Given all that, and having visited the site and seen it for myself, there should be room for more flexibility on numbers and there could be a safe but significant increase in the number of spectators permitted to attend future events.”
Push for council approval
The MP has discussed plans for getting bigger crowds back with bosses at the track.
He added: “Staff at Knockhill are actively trying to make the case to Fife Council for more spectators.
“I fully support their bid and look forward to assisting them where I can.”
Jillian Shedden, Knockhill’s managing director, believes that recent events show that the venue is fully compliant with Covid-19 guidance.
She said: “Our recent superbikes championship event went ahead without incident and it allowed us to test all our Covid-19 systems, which all came through with flying colours.
“The event was costly for us as we had to refund ticket money when numbers were reduced but still had the cost of putting on a safe, live event.
“We believe all the agencies such as Fife Council and NHS representatives see Knockhill as a low-risk venue and, given that, we are hoping for larger numbers of spectators to be allowed to future race days and events.”
Lorna Starkey, Fife Council’s lead officer on environmental health, has confirmed the local authority will keep capacity under review.
She added: “As we move into level 0 restrictions, any increased capacity changes and approval will be made according to the most up-to-date Scottish Government guidance.”