Motor Sports

Plater: Bermuda Charge can put island on map

  • Big plans: Lawrence Ward, International NW200 logistics officer, left, Takara Dill, president of the Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Association, and Steve Plater, the former Superbike Champion

Steve Plater, a former multiple motorcycle road-racing champion, believes the Bermuda Charge road-racing event will put the island firmly on the map to a worldwide audience.

The Government of Bermuda, through the Ministry of Tourism and Transport, has given its support for an annual three-day superbike meet held during the Labour Day weekend, comprising of a five-mile circuit, which will start and finish at Clearwater Beach and will feature some of the sport’s best riders in a short-sprint, time-trial format.

It will feature international riders on zero-emission electric superbikes, combustion category 600cc bikes and 250cc entry-level bikes, as well as additional clearance to run Touring Car races for race-modified versions of production models, both electric and combustion, and digitally distributed to a top-line audience of 180m worldwide.

Plater believes the Bermuda Charge has all the ingredients to be a major event on the island’s growing sporting calender.

“This event could really help put Bermuda on the map in not only a sporting sense, but tourism as well,” said Plater, who has won the prestigious Isle of Man Senior TT, North West 200 and was crowned 2009 British Supersport champion.

“There is nothing really here at the moment in terms of motorsport and so it could have a huge impact for the island.

“It is a fantastic circuit, undulating and some great fast spots. However, for me safety is the most important thing, particularly in the first few years.

“Since finishing my competitive riding, my involvement isn’t just in terms of the television side, but also the safety aspects. I’ve been there and done so to speak so my experience can really help. This will be time-trial based, where you go off on your own because that is the safest option.

“The event will be a big adrenalin rush for both riders and spectators. Of course, safety is paramount, but there are some key areas for the fans to really see what these bikes are capable of and the excitement the racing can bring.

“Without a doubt, this event could quite easily have the same impact as others around the world for putting those locations on the map for hosting that event. This is just the start, it will grow year after year, and I believe that it can grow not only two wheels but four as well.”

As well as Plater, race experts Lawrence Ward and Mervyn Whyte MBE, the event director of the International North West 200 in Northern Ireland, will be heavily involved with the event, particularly overseeing its safety as the clerk of the course.

Whyte, who has been involved with the North West 200, the largest annual sports event in Northern Ireland, since 1971 has visited the island twice to validate the Bermuda Charge’s safety plan and perform a route inspection.

With the key expertise already in place, Plater is confident of creating an event to emulate the International North West 200, which brings in around $16 million annually, a potential major boost to the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

“Tourism is also a key aspect of this event and the impact it could have is massive,” added Plater, who cited Bermuda’s picturesque scenery as a major selling point for future tourism. “If we can put on a show, this could be one of the lead events every year. North West 200 brings in $16 million and this event could be a huge boost to Bermuda’s tourism.

“There are already television companies who specialise in this type of event wanting to get involved and they’re the key people we want. To see any road circuit is a phenomenal feeling and to see these bikes will have an incredible visual impact, the scenery here will also make this event, the course will have an incredible backdrop.”

David Cahill, the event director, echoed the sentiments of Plater, particularly highlighting the importance of giving the East End of the island a welcome boost.

“We already have the relationships with the North West 200 and so we have everything in place to make this event a massive success,” said Cahill, whose application to operate an annual motorcycle road race was first endorsed by the Bermuda Tourism Authority in 2017.

“Everything has been agreed and so now we have a lot of hard work ahead in the next year to make sure we deliver an amazing and safe event.

“I’m extremely passionate about the East End of the island and I do feel it doesn’t receive as much attention as other parts of the island. It is one of the only areas that can run this sort of race and it will be great to help bring more tourism to the area.”