5 Minutes with: Steve Turner

MX Vice: The weekend was far from uneventful for you and your team. For those that don’t know, run through some of the problems you encountered…

Steve Turner: Yes, definitely eventful. The weekend started badly and just got steadily worse. From the minute I arrived there was a distinctly bad atmosphere. The team’s passes had been posted to the office whilst we were away in Qatar and Thailand, so I knew the five mechanics, who had driven over from Holland on Friday, would be at the gate first thing and they wouldn’t have their passes until later when I arrived. As a matter of courtesy I emailed the new paddock co-ordinator, Robin Griffith, on Thursday explaining the situation. When the truck arrived they were asked if they wanted to park up and wait for me to arrive with their passes or to pay to get in and get it back when their passes were presented later.

When I showed them the passes I was told I would have to see Brian Higgins, however to my amazement he completely refused, offered instead to give me the entry fees back and the team could leave and capped it off by threatening to sanction my riders. As everyone witnessed at the end of the first race, he did just that by personally, as the Clerk of the Course, deciding that Adam had contravened the regulations, for which he received a ten place penalty for “no significant reduction in speed when flag was waved”.

Everyone who was at that end of the circuit knows that Ben and Adam went through that section at the same speed throughout the period that the flags were being waved. They both singled instead of doubling as they had previously done. It’s completely subjective as to whether that constituted “a significant reduction” or not, however if Higgins thought it didn’t how can he justify penalising just one of them, it should have been both or neither. To cap it all there is a new piece of legislation written into the ACU rules this year, which states that if the Clerk of the Course concludes that his decision is “Decided as a Statement of Fact” there is no longer a right of appeal, full stop! I think I can guess who had that little caveat added into the rulebook.

Following the weekend, what are your thoughts on our premier domestic series? Do you feel let down by it all?

I was ashamed to be associated with the meeting. It was like being at a poorly organised club meeting from 30 years ago. How could you take a sponsor to that and hope to impress them.

I’m sure that, as a fan, you have an opinion on the Mel Pocock incident and what happened there?

I’ll never forget having to listen to the relentless screams of agony from poor Mel, as he lay in the medical unit for what was a very long time.  All I could think about was what if that had been one of my riders or god forbid my son. I still can’t believe the lack of care he received, it was truly incredible and most people were in shock. It’s a dangerous sport at the best of times, but the least we expect is adequate care to be provided when something like this happens. The hospital was only four miles away from the track and yet it took an hour and a half to get him there.

I guess the one positive for you is that Adam showed race-winning speed…

Yes he looked very fast and very strong. We’re lucky in this country to have two great young British riders coming through with Adam and Ben.

What about Steven Frossard, what’s the situation with him?

He went down at the front of the pack and damaged his hand. He’s back in France and has seen his surgeon, who has confirmed there is nothing broken so hopefully he will make it to Argentina.

Finally, what do you think needs to change? How can we make sure we don’t have another weekend like this?

There’s one common denominator in this and that’s Brian Higgins. He has his fingers in every pie, he’s the ACU Chairman, ACU Events Limited Chairman, the National Council Chairman and the Motocross Committee Chairman. On top of that he and his cronies control two clubs, Tamar Valley and West Devon, which he uses to run certain rounds of the British Championship as organiser, after being given the rights by the promoter, ACU Events Limited.

Indeed it was the Tamar Valley club that reduced the weekend’s meeting to the debacle that was witnessed by everyone in attendance. What could possibly be Higgins’ motivation for running these meetings with his own businesses other than to make money and it’s this pursuit of profit, at the expense of everything else, which is the root cause of the current problems. He’s on the digger preparing the track, he’s controlling the gate, he’s Clerk of the Course and dishing out penalties as he sees fit. It’s this pursuit of profit which drove him to make up his own ruling on the Saturday morning that no-one was to be given money back when they showed their passes later, a fact that no-one else knew in advance.

He saw the opportunity to make some extra cash and nothing was going to stop him. I have never really seen eye to eye with him over his running of the series, however the treatment our team and others received at the weekend and the shambolic events that unfolded took things to a whole new level. In my opinion he is a disgrace to the ACU, the championship sponsors, the manufacturers, the teams, the riders, the spectators and also to the many hard working people who have to work alongside him and the ACU cannot sit on its hands any longer. I have drafted a letter of complaint, which is on it’s way to them and I can only hope that they take on board my comments alongside the many others they will undoubtably receive and take the appropriate action, otherwise I can see no future for the championship.

From my own point of view I have to question whether I can justify asking my riders to take part in events where we are not confident that they will receive the basic care and attention required, if they are unfortunate enough to suffer injury, and also whether I can ask them to compete in races where they can have their results downgraded at the whim of the Clerk of the Course, without any right of appeal despite that very same person having threatened in advance to take sanctions against them. I love the sport and have no other motivations other than for it to improve and with Higgins at the helm this is never going to happen. I’m an optimist though and I have to trust that the people in control of the sport’s future will do the right thing, so I’m already looking ahead to a much improved British Motocross Championship, one where money grabbing individuals like Mr Higgins are unable to line their pockets to the detriment of the sport they are supposed to be protecting and enhancing and one where the ACU actually delivers its mission.

Image: Mark Turner

MX Vice Editor || 25


  1. Michael Rochford

    Well said there was no way adam deserved penalty thro section if he was that concerned about someone with a broken leg he should have red flagged race everyone went thro at same pace

  2. Ryan Humphrey

    How can they not listen too nearly every rider complaining about him and the events and nearly every supporter/mechanics/sponsors? Surely if they all think the same something’s got to be done!!!!! This is a outrage just to hear about this!! Another thing I think will be discusting though, is if the teams think this championship is so bad and dangerous why are they still going and supporting it?? I know it’s the British championship but there riders safety and fairness need to come first! So instead of everyone slagging it of! Teams need to stand together and withdraw from future rounds!!!! That’s the only way things will change!

  3. CraigChambers15

    motocrossvice whatever the arguments are of either side, there should never be another meeting like that. Too many unnecessary risks taken

  4. SkyeEnergyDrink

    We at Skye just hope Mel is ok! At any sporting event, there should be adequate medical facilities, we are not saying there was or was not, but if it is deemed there wasn’t at the enquiry – it needs to be addressed. If there WAS adequate medical facilities, then the procedures need to be addressed. Either way, something will have to change.

  5. StuDawes

    motocrossvice steveturnerraci Well said Steve,about time somebody in the industry stepped up to the plate!

  6. Josh Lewis

    The treatment of severely injured rider mel pocock was disgusting. A man who is more worried about making money then insuring the safety of the riders should be smacked in the head with a shovel

  7. John Titterrell

    The ACU is your club you must all speak up before somebody’s life is put in front of money

  8. Roger Francis

    A very well written interview I totally agree with Steve, this man has to go, we need to be attracting the top teams to our competition and we should definitely not be treating them like he has, it is Important to see our GP teams in our domestic championship so the fans of our sport can see GP level riders on our shores. Well said Mr Turner.

  9. TomYorke

    Most club meetings I went to 30 years ago were excellent, this sounds bad, really bad. Still hoping things are turned around for Lyng…

  10. Forkrent

    motocrossvice steveturnerraci Well how refreshing to have someone tell it like it is for a change !!!!

  11. Forkrent

    motocrossvice steveturnerraci I hope the other major team owners MAN up and back Steve ! They all talk about but put up with it !!!

  12. Forkrent

    motocrossvice steveturnerraci we have sponsored many teams over the years but will not be involved with this debacle any more !

  13. motocrossvice

    Forkrent steveturnerraci One of the main reasons Vice was setup as jamesburfield was tired of hearing the same old crap..

  14. jamesburfield

    motocrossvice Forkrent steveturnerraci Now with 360,000 people we can turn up the volume. Shame other media don’t do it as well.

  15. Richardmxbrown

    Forkrent Guynicholls7 motocrossvice steveturnerraci disgusting the way one man can control a championship and even race results! U0001f620

  16. oz226

    Forkrent steveturnerraci please done back away from mx completely. The can’t survive without support from people like you. Help mx forward

  17. Onemotionmx

    Richardmxbrown Guynicholls7 motocrossvice steveturnerraci Taking nothing away from the riders, the Championship seem ruined already

  18. Guynicholls7

    Onemotionmx Richardmxbrown motocrossvice steveturnerraci it’s like a business it can be turned round if the right people run it !

  19. Richardmxbrown

    Onemotionmx Guynicholls7 motocrossvice steveturnerraci Not a great start to the year but if the teams all stand together all is not lost

  20. CraigChambers15

    Forkrent motocrossvice steveturnerraci teamwork is needed amongst the teams, then in turn with the organisers. Effort = Results

  21. Onemotionmx

    Guynicholls7 For sure! Just seems if the championship comes down to those points that were deducted in rd1 “in haste”

  22. jamesburfield

    Guynicholls7 Onemotionmx Richardmxbrown motocrossvice steveturnerraci Agreed, Its all about having the right team with no £££ to gain.

  23. Onemotionmx

    jamesburfield Guynicholls7 Richardmxbrown motocrossvice steveturnerraci I used the word Passion when you guys come along James, i

  24. Onemotionmx

    jamesburfield Guynicholls7 Richardmxbrown motocrossvice steveturnerraci I used the word passion when you guys come along James….

  25. Onemotionmx

    jamesburfield Guynicholls7 Richardmxbrown motocrossvice steveturnerraci That’s what’s needed in “the” organisation

  26. steveturnerraci

    Guynicholls7 Onemotionmx Richardmxbrown motocrossvice The key to this is the title sponsor Maxxis. They need to protect their brand

  27. Richardmxbrown

    steveturnerraci Guynicholls7 Onemotionmx motocrossvice yeah they won’t be enjoying all this bad press that’s for sure!

  28. steveturnerraci

    Guynicholls7 Onemotionmx motocrossvice When Suarez decided he liked munching on human flesh team sponsors had same issue and he was gone

  29. bjgippy112

    motocrossvice I agree how the teams, riders & fans were treated was a disgrace, rider safety should be the most important thing not ££

  30. Jamesburfield

    SkyeEnergyDrink I feel for you guys, putting yourselves out there to push your brand and that was what you had to work with at round 1. Great to see companies like yourself investing in the sport, please don’t be put off, all the fans will embrace you guys with their loyalty because you’re putting money into UK Motocross. I hope in future round you guys get the return on investment you deserve, from one business owner to another.

  31. Leemorgan32

    motocrossvice Gr8 interview with steveturnerraci so glad to hear the backbone of mx telling how it is r.e. the MaxxisBritishMX

  32. Leemorgan32

    motocrossvice Gr8 interview with steveturnerraci glad to hear the backbone of mx telling how it is r.e. the Maxxis_Tyres British MX

  33. CraigChambers15

    steveturnerraci Guynicholls7 Onemotionmx motocrossvice for now, can there be a team/rider committee setup, to prepare upcoming rounds?

  34. Paul Davis

    Well said steve.the sooner Higgins is sacked the better.his motives are about making money not what is good for the sport.what will it take for the ACU to act.Will a rider have to die before they rid our sport of this idiot

  35. Brendan Griffiths

    All teams should get together and not turn up to the next championship… Then they will need to sort it out!!!

  36. SkyeEnergyDrink

    Jamesburfield SkyeEnergyDrink thanks James. It was probably not the start we had anticipated in our first real  foray into a major UK MX event. But on the brighter side….it can only improve from here. We hope to continue to put money into Motocross and other Sports in the future. I hope events of the weekend will be a thing of the past so we can all concentrate on the sports themselves rather than other events that would detract everyone from what we all go to see. 

    Ian Roberts – Marketing director for Skye Energy Drink.

  37. jonermx_jones

    Mr Higgins does need to move along and let someone fresh and clean take his place. Someone who can take the sport forward and has the teams, riders, spectators, sponsors and manufacturers best interests at heart. Someone who isn’t just in it for the money and uses the best tracks available wherever they are and regardless of the cost. Someone who wouldn’t risk riders well being by riding at venues that are not up to the job with poor medical assistance!
    Someone like Guiseppe Luongo!

  38. JBouttell511

    stood arguing with this prick (higgins) over passes in 2010, made some rules up then too ! such a shame to see the sport going rapidly downhill

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *