...But slams "kangaroo justice"
Having listened to evidence at its hearing on Tuesday 31 January, the Motor Sports Association's National Court has taken the following action:
The Court has suspended the competition licence of Junior Rotax kart racing driver Adam Christodoulou until September 2006. This means Adam Christodoulou will not be permitted to compete in the UK or overseas during this period.
However, the Court has decided not to take any action against three other drivers: Lewis Reeves, Jack Harvey and Jordan Chamberlain.
Separately, the Court has ordered Adam Christodoulou’s father, Peter Christodoulou, to pay £13,000 in costs.
The above decisions were taken on the third and final day of a hearing that opened in December 2005.
In December, the court found that the four drivers named had competed in a meeting at Rowrah on 5 June 2005 using illegally-modified engines. These had been modified by Peter Christodoulou whose actions resulted in a fine of £30,000. The latest order to pay £13,000 in costs is in addition to this fine.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the Court did not accept Adam Christodoulou’s claim that he did not know that his engine at Rowrah had been illegally modified.
However, the Court did accept that the three other drivers – Lewis Reeves, Jack Harvey and Jordan Chamberlain – did not know that the engines they were using were illegal. In effect, said the Court, these drivers had "been fooled."
Previously, the Court had heard unchallenged evidence from Michael Garton, one of the MSA’s most experienced technical commissioners, who said the modifications made to the engines by Mr Christodoulou had been "very deliberate, very sophisticated and very expensive."
Mr Garton also said that this was "the most serious case of cheating" he had ever witnessed during his many years of investigating ineligibility in karting.
In a statement, the Court said: "We accept that Adam (Christodoulou) has considerable ability and we do not wish to prevent him from participating in the sport for more than one season. We also accept that this matter has been hanging over his head for a considerable amount of time, not due wholly to his own fault. We are accordingly suspending his licence until 30 September 2006; and we make an order pursuant to rule 161 of the FIA rules to give that suspension international application."
The Court also heard that the four drivers, since the meeting at Rowrah, had been "victimised" by a number of clubs.
In its statement, the Court added: "We have been made aware of the fact that some clubs have already taken matters into their own hands so as, in effect, to mete out what might be regarded as kangaroo justice. We wholly understand why people feel very strongly about this kind of cheating. Indeed, we agree with them.
"We, however, have heard and tested the actual evidence to the best of our abilities and it is we who have the job of deciding where the truth lies. We have done so and we very much hope that our decision and rulings draw a firm line under this matter. We would be very concerned indeed if further reports of any kind of kangaroo justice were to come to our attention again."