The world fuel shortage and fast-rising petrol prices seriously threaten private and public transport that richer countries have taken for granted for several decades.
The world fuel shortage and fast-rising petrol prices seriously threaten private and public transport that richer countries have taken for granted for several decades. Now the crisis looks like spreading to sport -- and a surprising number of events may be directly affected.
SYNOPSIS: There are already moves to alter racing regulations to permit teams to use different types of fuel.
There is now a motor rally held somewhere in the world every week of the year, but that may soon be something of the past. Longer competitions -- like the famous Monte Carlo event -- will be shortened. Small motoring clubs are already being forced to cancel rallies, especially in countries where public petrol sales are banned at weekends.
The famous 24-hour Le Mans race in France will probably survive because it is backed by major sponsorship. However, it has been suggested that practice time at races like these could be cut to save fuel. Again, less well-known saloon car races will disappear.
In motorcycling, the race organisers are torn between the huge 750cc and 850cc superbikes -- which attract more spectators to track -- and the smaller machines which use less petrol. Crowds could be a problem if weekend motoring is restricted.
Speedway has benefited from a large increase in popularity over the last decade and looks like being one of the motor sports less restricted by the fuel crisis. Although high-revving, the bikes have small engines and use far less petrol.
One of the sports less obviously hit by a lack of fuel is cycling, where muscle-power seems to be the main requirement. But for each race some covering over 3,500 kilometres (2,000 miles) -- there has to be a long official motorcade in pursuit.
Dragster racing may be restricted in the United States -- one country with a severe fuel shortage.
Water sports will be affected too. Powerboats use large amounts of fuel and the races are lengthy. It has been argued that the sea races can be watched by few people and should therefore be treated like private motoring.
Even water-skiers are finding it much harder to meet the cost of their sport because of the petrol used by the motorboats that tow them. All round there must be rethinking in sports that depend on an engine.