Damper put on Overseas events

Following on from the UK departure from the European Union in January, the trials world woke up to the fact that transporting a trials machine to overseas events just took a leap forward in cost.

It was known that leaving the EU would bring new challenges, but few realised that it would bring higher costs as well. It is rapidly turning into a head-scratcher. It was universally known for some time pre-Brexit, that travelling overseas from the UK would require the obligatory ‘green card’ insurance document which can be obtained from the vehicle owners’ insurance company. There is also a requirement to purchase an International Driver’s licence from the Post Office to compliment the DVLA photocard driver’s licence scheme.

However, carrying additional vehicles inside a van or on a trialer, along with tools and equipment such as portable generators and spare parts poses new challenges for overseas competition plans.

This week the Auto-Cycle Union announced plans to try and smooth the process of taking competition machines over to European events.

Many argue that trials bikes are not ‘racing’ machines, but of course the word ‘racing’ is regularly used in place of the phrase ‘competition’ by the European countries. The terminology can cause concern amongst the trials fraternity and has done for many years. This has been increased over the years with trials motorcycle manufacturers utilising the word ‘Racing’ to promote higher performance or higher specification models for instance.

Given that trials machines can have a value of multiple thousands this could require a deposit of around £2,000 refundable after the machine has been repatriated to the UK after the event.

Most trials machines are no longer registered for road use, except for the Scottish Six Days and a handful of road based events which have been in decline since the 1990s.

Up until 2020, the process of loading up bikes in a big panel van and driving to Andorra or Costa Brava was very popular with British enthusiasts, but that has changed since January, not just because the Covid pandemic has closed borders and travel routes.

The realisation that expensive ‘carnets’ will be necessary and with border controls even more stringent, this means more expense and increased time spent at border crossings while paperwork is checked and perhaps machines are off loaded for inspection.

In short, a carnet is a customs permit allowing a motor vehicle, be that car or motorcycle, to be taken across a national border for a limited period of time.

Over the last month, the online social media chat rooms have seen increased traffic on this thorny subject with opinions traded like confetti.

In short the concessus appears to be that the cost while not totally prohibitive, may in fact limit the volume of riders prepared to shell out hard cash of several hundreds of pounds to allow them to ride abroad.

The ACU issued a statement on 10th January, the contents are reproduced below.

It will be interesting to see whether the costs really curtail British riders to compete on a more domestic level in future.

On 31 December 2020, the temporary transition arrangements in place between the EU and the UK expired, affecting the movement of motorsport vehicles and equipment to the EU. Following advice, The Auto-Cycle Union understands that an ATA Carnet will be required to temporarily move motorsport vehicles and equipment across to the border. An ATA Carnet is an international Customs document that operates like a passport for your goods.  It allows the temporary importation of goods into countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system (the EU and 40+ additional countries) and avoids you having to pay unnecessary taxes or duties. ATA Carnets cover all goods that are leaving the UK and returning within a 12-month period.  They do not cover disposable goods (oil, fluids) that will be used while out of the country or items that will not be returning to the UK. The ATA Carnet simplifies the customs procedure into a single document and makes the importation process much quicker and easier to handle.  To avoid unnecessary border delays and customs checks the carnet should be acquired in advance of travel. There are two parts to the carnet:

  • The processing/arrangement fee of the paperwork (VATable)
  • The premium (non-VATable) The Auto-Cycle Union has secured a special deal with the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) for ACU members of a fixed price processing/arrangement fee of £240+VAT. This is discounted from the standard fee of £330+VAT that non-members of the GBCC would pay. Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is appointed as part of a network of Chambers around the country to issue ATA Carnets. The second part of the fee is the Premium. This can either be a refundable deposit of 40% of the vehicle’s value or a non-refundable insurance premium to cover the 40% proportion of the premium.
  • Applying for ATA Carnets: Carnets are applied for through an electronic portal called ‘E-cert’ and processed and posted out next day delivery or made ready for same day collection. A walkthrough of the process and further information for Auto-Cycle Union members is available here Please do not call The ACU with any ATA Carnet enquiries, but Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Carnet Specialist, Jonathan Crosbie, can be contacted by Auto-Cycle Union members on 0121 274 3217. GBCC also offer an express ATA Carnet service for Auto-Cycle Union members for a £35+VAT premium (normally £75+VAT), and if all the information is available and correct an express Carnet can be turned around in as little as one hour (Monday-Friday 0800-1600). To access the Auto-Cycle Union ATA Carnet discount with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, please reference your 2021 ACU Club Affiliation Code and the name in which it is registered when applying.

Source: Auto-Cycle Union

4 thoughts on “Damper put on Overseas events”

  1. If that’s the case then you will also have to have a carnet for taking your private car/van/motorhome across as well, even if you are going for just a holiday. Nothing has been mentioned in travel news about any carnet, so why just for competition machines.

    1. It isn’t needed for main mode of transport. Motorhomes are ok, the car or bike behind towed isn’t. Also, they are charging for generators as “machine plant” unless bolted into Motorhome.

  2. I seem to recall that, before we joined the EU, the carnet cost a nominal sum so these fees seem a bit disproportionate. The motocross guys aren’t so lucky but it doesn’t cost much, comparatively speaking, to register a trials bike. Which gives the additional benefit of details being recorded with the possibility of improving the chance of recovery after theft.

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