Newquay’s tourism season is set for a stutter following the decision to cancel a popular annual motorsport event held in Watergate Bay.

The Watergate Bay Sprint, which attracts hundreds of competitors and spectators during the shoulder season, was due to be held along the B3276 coast road on September 21 and 22.

The Truro and District Motor Club, Newquay Auto Club, Plymouth Motor Club and Camel Vale Motor Club, which organises the event in partnership, have decided to postpone the sprint as the team is “not up to the capacity” needed to make the event a success.

The partnership instead wants to concentrate on staging a special Watergate Bay Sprint in 2025 to mark the centenary of the last of the early speed trials held on public roads.

A spokesperson said: “The organising partners in the Watergate Bay Sprint are in the process of establishing a new team but recognise that they are not yet up to the capacity needed to make the event a success in 2024. 

“Putting on an event like this is a mammoth undertaking, the standards of safety we adhere to has moved on considerably since those halcyon days of a century past. 

“Consequently, the decision to postpone the Watergate Bay Sprint to 2025 has been taken. 

“This enabling the organising partners to secure the running of their own club events throughout 2024, whilst focussing their collective attention on returning to Watergate Bay with a centenary celebration of good sportsmanship and closed road motorsport in September 2025.

“The sixth running of the Watergate Bay Sprint will once again bring action-packed closed-road motorsport into the heart of Cornwall in 2025.

“In September 2023, 100 hundred cars and competitors descended on the region from across the UK to tackle the 850-metre course which used the B3276 coast road between Newquay and Padstow.

“Its unique format attracts some of the fastest drivers in the country to the challenging course, all eager to beat class records or secure fastest times.

“Next year, 2025, will mark the centenary of the last of the early speed trials held on public roads, on April 4 1925 in Hereford and Tavistock, speed events took place two days after the then decision to stop motor racing on public roads, a Bill having been put to Parliament and the RAC Competitions Committee cancelling all permits for speed contests on the open highway on April 2 1925.

“Back then local authorities and Police allowed these last speed trials to proceed on the basis of ‘good sportsmanship.

“Watergate Bay is the spiritual successor of these grass roots events 100 years ago.

“Something for ‘Good Sports’ to celebrate in 2025.”