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Racing At Spa In 2022 Guide

Updated 06/06/22

The CSCC is thrilled to return to Spa in June, with optimism that, for most members, crossing the channel will be as easy as it ever was. For a time, it was incorrectly believed that since leaving the EU, every CSCC member would require a carnet, insurance/bond and more for their race car. We now believe this is not the case, using evidence we have gathered first hand.

CSCC Disclaimer: We hope you find this guide useful, but each driver should decide for themselves what is required for travelling overseas, based on their individual situation. The CSCC cannot be held liable for the information and interpretation it has published within this guide. As has always been the case, much depends on regional customs and law-enforcement officials.

All eleven CSCC series will feature at the Spa Summer Classic from 23rd to 26th June, yes, even the JMC Racing Special Saloons and Modsports will have the opportunity to race at this special event. We are once again the UK promoter for the headline Spa 3 Hours race for FIA cars, entries for this race and our own CSCC races are now open.

What hasn't changed?

Firstly, it's important to know that everything that always made this event such a special occasion in club motorsport still remains. The weather (it is usually kind to us), history, speed and a more relaxed, holiday atmosphere in the spacious paddock won't change. Frites and Mayo, CSCC BBQ, podiums, perhaps a side trip to the 'Ring, are all phrases we hear from you. Entries are in most cases the same as in 2019, at £645 for those with 2 x 40 minute races, £665 for 3 x 30 minute races and £1695 per team entered in the 3 Hours.

You need to compete at two UK rounds with the CSCC, this is so we can check driving standards, but also because the club requires your financial support.


What equipment do I need to race with you at Spa?

No change from previous years, it's as per 2022 MSUK racing regulations, except:

- A Motorsport UK 'Race National' licence, as a minimum (six 'signatures'/race results).

- An in-date FIA seat, for all cars, except if using the original seats in period-defined FIA Appendix K cars.

- FIA padding on the roll cage around the drivers head. - Full FIA underwear and socks too.

- If you have an FIA bag/fuel tank, it must be in date. If your car has a custom made fuel tank it must be foam-filled. A standard, production fuel tank is ok and does not require foam filling.

Any MSUK Post-Brexit extensions DO NOT Apply at Spa, such as seatbelt expiry dates.

-The 2022 RACB safety regulations for the event will be available on the Spa Summer Classic website.


Carnet

We believe that some CSCC members will, whilst many should not require a Carnet, but we can make no cast iron guarantees. As always, we are at the mercy of officials on both sides of the channel, as has always been the case. A definition of what a Carnet is, can be found further down this page.

We believe:

1. You won't need a Carnet if:

- You are non-professional (not making money from these races)

- Your race car is road legal and you have paperwork to prove it - You are towing your race car yourself, with a private car/motorhome (with paperwork) - You are not carrying wheels, tools and spares (consumables like grease, fuel, oil are fine and do not require a carnet). - Paperwork showing your return crossing, race entry and a letter from us that explains you are invited by the Belgians, to an amateur sporting event, with no prize money or reward.

2. You may not need a Carnet, if all the above apply, with these differences:

- Your race car is not road legal. Produce a bill of sale, showing you are the owner. Any other useful documentation for the race car may help, such as FIA papers and/or Motorsport UK vehicle passport. - Your tow vehicle is a van or truck. If it is unmarked (not plastered with race team stickers), you are the registered owner (with paperwork) and you are not carrying 'goods for hire or reward' you 'should' be fine. It becomes a grey area as the size of the vehicle increases (giving an impression of a commercial enterprise), or if it appears this could be a motorsport business vehicle, e.g VW T5 with four mechanics on board, in team regalia!

- You are carrying a bare minimum of spares and tools that could be argued are essential to run the permitted vehicle. If it is an option, you may want to consider transporting these items in a different vehicle.

3. You will almost certainly need a Carnet if: - Your race car is being transported by a team. - You are racing for financial or business gain. - You are carrying a quantity of spares and tools for the race car considered by an official to require a Carnet. It has been impossible to establish what quantity or type the threshold may be and what the UK officials are briefed. Most drivers have got through with no issues, with spares, tools and wheels provided they fall into category 1 or 2 above. However, a few have been stopped, including a recent example crossing from Hull for a trackday, where customs insisted the wheels and spares required a carnet.

Whilst the two are not strictly linked, if you require a Carnet for business or commercial purposes you will probably also need a standard international goods vehicle operator licence, if you are transporting goods for hire or reward, this can even include cars towing trailers. If you have applied for a Carnet you must bring everything back with you (excludes consumables). For example, if you took out a spare engine to Spa and fitted it to replace the one that went pop into many pieces, you must bring back the broken one, else it could be assumed you'd sold an engine and be liable to taxes.


What actually is a Carnet?

To quote the .gov website 'ATA Carnets are international customs documents used for the suspension of duties where goods will be re-exported within a year.' Also described as a passport for goods. They are designed for commercial operations (goods), not private individuals with their own possessions. You don't need a Carnet if you are driving your own car to Belgium and back, nor if you are towing your own caravan to the EU and back. Where this changes is when you are dealing with 'goods', commercial activities etc. The majority of members are attending an amateur sporting event, with no financial reward, then bringing your possessions back into the UK within a week. As we've already stated, a Carnet should not be needed by most members, with the sticking point how spares and tools are viewed.


Are you sure I don't need a Carnet?

"My best mates cousin read on Facebook that last year a French customs man said 'Non', turning him back to Blighty, he confiscated his packet of Walkers ready-salted too!" Yes, there is some rumour, a few actual confirmed cases and a lot of conflicting information. As has always been the case there is a small chance of finding an officious customs person who wants to make things difficult, but, with the right preparation we think you'll be fine.

What hasn't helped it that when asking advice from UK Chambers Of Commerce, or government departments, you will receive different, conflicting advice, depending on who you speak to, in which department they're in and how you ask the question. Hugo, myself and others on the CSCC Committee have collectively wasted hours on phone calls and emails on this very subject, even now, just weeks before the event! A Chambers of Commerce may well 'sell' you a Carnet, but just because they will, doesn't mean you should. A Carnet is not a guarantee of trouble free border crossing, although it could help, but is an expense and takes extra time to apply and visit a centre on each side of the channel. See additional information at the end of this guide.


Ok, convince me....

In early October 2021, our Treasurer, Richard Wos attended the Spa Six Hours meeting, with the specific brief of talking to as many British drivers as possible, to find out how they got on crossing the channel, first hand. Richard spoke to a total of 16 drivers, all of whom towed their own race car themselves (Richard saw no need to talk to those that were part of a team, who would likely have required a Carnet). All 16 of these private drivers had no Carnet, correctly interpreting that one was not required. 15 of them passed through customs without query. 1 of them was stopped for a random check, producing paperwork for his tow vehicle, trailer and race car. In addition this individual had FIA papers and a dual language letter from the RACB (the Belgian equivalent of Motorsport UK), inviting them to the Spa Six Hours event, making it clear that it was an amateur sporting event with no reward. He was asked where he was headed, wished good luck for the race and sent on his way.


In addition, we have first hand, verifiable accounts of drivers in 2021 and 2022 towing their own legal and non-road legal cars to overseas track days and events, with just two cases in 2022 where drivers encountered issues.


Ok, I believe I won't need a Carnet or Goods Vehicle Operators Licence, what would you suggest I bring?

We believe a neat folder, containing all paperwork is useful were you to be stopped (in preference to emails and pdfs on your phone), containing the following to help prove that your visit to the EU is not professional, commercial or for business: 1. Tow vehicle: V5, insurance certificate (from 2nd August 2021 this should include EU 3rd party cover by default), MOT.

2a. Private trailer gross weight under 3500kg = No trailer registration necessary, although you may choose to register your trailer, to add to your paperwork folder. Proof of trailer insurance (Green Card) 'may' be necessary, contact your tow car insurance company at least 6 weeks in advance of travelling to check. 2b. Private trailer gross weight over 3500kg = £26 registration + Green Card

2c. Commercial trailer gross weight over 750kg = £26 registration +Green Card

3a. Race car (road legal): all documents as per no.1, plus a receipt of sale that shows when you bought the car, for how much and that it was sold to you. Optional: Motorsport UK vehicle passport and (where applicable) FIA papers, is highly recommended, see our recent article in Classic Lines. 3b. Race car (not road legal): as many documents as you can muster of the above. 4. Where you are going/what you are doing: A print out of where you are staying, CSCC entry list that shows your name(s) and car, your ferry/tunnel return crossing and a dual language letter that we will arrange through our Belgian friends, that invites you to the event. Remember that you are attending an event with no 'reward'.

Supplementary: Don't forget your UK driving licence, optional personal accident insurance, GHIC (apply now, as this can take a month or two) and all your race kit and race licence!

5. UK (not GB) sticker on both tow vehicle and trailer


6. A polite and friendly attitude towards any official that may stop you, it goes a long way.

An international driving permit is not required (although optional) for any of the countries you are likely to drive through to get to Spa.

7. Travel light, if at all possible bring only the essentials when it comes to spares and tools for the race car. If it is an option, take these in a friends/family members car, leaving the tow vehicle, race car and trailer 'bare'.

We hope this guide helps you. It is written with the best knowledge and interpretation available at the time of writing, but could be subject to change of course.


Additional sources:

London Chamber Of Commerce FAQ's (extract from 'What can an ATA Carnet be used for?') Carnets can only be issued for racing vehicles that are transported to the EU or any other Carnet country under transport contract (i.e. by freight forwarder / haulier)........If the vehicle is road worthy and is being driven to the country of destination by the owner– then the Carnet is not required (the same applies to personal vehicles being towed or transported by the owner )

Most CSCC members are not moving their car to Spa by transport contract (freight forwarder/haulier), therefore, this suggests an ATA Carnet cannot be issued.


Point 20 (2.) Cars, boats, yachts, aeroplanes and motorbikes for the following uses: Professional equipment - vehicles for racing, test driving or race support

The key word here is 'Professional', what most CSCC members are doing when racing their own car at Spa is 'amateur', therefore a Carnet does not cover this and is not needed.


This is a useful article to quote if challenged.

If you’re taking goods to another country temporarily for business reasons and you think you’ll be over the duty free limit, you can usually get an ATA Carnet to avoid paying duty. This includes things like:

  • personal effects and sports goods

As most of our members are not taking goods to the EU for business reasons it implies you should not require a carnet. We can find no reference on the government website that deals with taking personal possessions overseas for personal/leisure reasons.


For those members with road legal race cars only: You must take your vehicle log book (V5C) with you if you’re taking your vehicle abroad for less than 12 months. You may have to show it if you’re stopped at a port or while driving abroad. UK law still applies to a UK-registered vehicle if you take it abroad for less than 12 months. That means you need to make sure:

  • your vehicle is taxed in the UK while it’s abroad

  • you have a current MOT

  • you have insurance

and

Clarification from the EU that road legal/road registered vehicles are granted temporary admission to/from the UK to EU, without customs formalities.


https://www.motorsportuk.org/movement-of-motorsport-vehicles-post-brexit/ Motorsport UK produced this web page in January 2020. A lot has changed since then, with actual racers putting the system to the test. Whilst we believe this MSUK page is broadly correct for professional/commercial teams/drivers, it is not applicable for amateurs (most CSCC members).

A discounted MSUK Carnet deal was arranged at the time with the Greater Birmingham Chambers Of Commerce. Only if you require a Carnet, this is worth considering. https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/international/documentation/ata-carnets/#4 From their FAQs: When and why do I need it?

If your goods are going outside of the UK and into one of the 40+ countries that accepts ATA Carnets and you are going for one of the following reasons:

  • You are exhibiting at an International Trade Fair/Exhibition

  • You are taking Commercial Samples with you to business meetings to try and generate business

  • Your goods are going out for Professional Equipment purposes to perform their function or to undergo testing

The words 'goods' and 'professional equipment' are key here and we believe don't apply to most amateur members, personally owned vehicles.

 


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ianracer17
ianracer17
Jan 21, 2022

A brilliant and helpful article. BUT I Built my Modsports from scratch 20plus years ago, bought parts all over the place, AND it cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered Road Legal, does'nt have a V5 or MOT, is too noisy and very uneconomical etc etc etc!!! Best Wishes to any of our Series Wishing to try taking on the EU & its animosity to us Brits. since Brexit. (Just had a parcel of Head Gskts. returned after swanning around Customs in Holland for TWO Months. Yes I'm a little cynical) Ian Hall.

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