Race meeting cancelled after fire engines 'damage' turf

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

OFFICIALS at Great Yarmouth race course are considering legal action against Norfolk Fire Service after they had to cancel the biggest meeting of the year today.

Fire engines attending a blaze in gorse bushes at a neighbouring golf course took a short cut across the track, but the heavy tenders vehicles caused dozens of deep ruts in the turf.

Stewards immediately inspected the damage and were left with no alternative but to cancel the meeting because the damaged course was 'too dangerous' for racing.

Furious Officials at the council-owned track claimed the last-minute cancellation would cost them around about pounds 30,000. pounds. They expected a bumper crowd of around about 4,000 to attend the day's racing, one of the course's most popular meetings of the year.

The clerk of the course, David Henson, said: 'They obviously needed to get to the fire but we feel there was an alternative route which they could have used.'

"It is difficult to say exactly how much this will cost us, but it is one of our most popular meetings of the year and we will obviously be losing a considerable amount of money.

"The stewards were left with no alternative but to abandon the meeting and obviously everyone is very disappointed."

A spokesman for Norfolk Fire Service said: 'The alleged damage to the course is being investigated.' We may have something further to say following the investigation."

The course is expected to be ready for racing again in time for the next scheduled meeting, on August 9th.