LOCAL groups could join forces to ensure the New Milton Pedal Car Grand Prix continues after escalating costs put its future in jeopardy.
Talks are set to be held between the Lions Club of New Milton and representatives of other organisations to look into the possibility of a collaboration to run the popular biennial race which draws hundreds of spectators to the town centre.
This follows the dissolving last December of the New Milton Jubilee Fund, which had organised the event since launching it in 2005 to run alternately with Ringwood’s own pedal car grand prix.
As reported in the A&T, Robin Ede, who had chaired the group for all of its 17 years, had said New Milton’s most recent event in July last year cost £4,000 more to organise than the one in 2017.
The total cost of just over £10,000 meant there was a much smaller amount to give to local youth groups.
Lions Club chairman Alan Watson launched discussions with other interested parties after town councillors called for a new organiser to be found to save the event.
With Ringwood’s separately organised pedal car grand prix taking place on 12th July this year, it is hoped a new arrangement can be made in time for New Milton’s to be staged in 2021.
A meeting between the groups is due to take place at IncuHive New Milton in early March, after which Mr Watson will report progress to the town council.
“I’m pretty confident,” he told the A&T. “We’ve invited about six other groups and a few individuals, long with a couple of the teams that have previously taken part in the grand prix.
“It all boils down to money. I think there would need to be fundraising events and substantial support from New Milton Town Council. Then we would have to look for sponsors.
“It’s highly likely that this would have to be us collaborating with a number of groups all working together.”
He added: “The New Milton Pedal Car Grand Prix is very important. We get lots of visitors to the town, and the shopkeepers like it.”
A revamp of how the event is staged will also be discussed, including possibly moving it from a Sunday to a Saturday in a bid to attract even more visitors.
The route covering Station Road and part of Old Milton Road could also be extended to take in adjoining Elm Avenue in a move which Mr Watson said could make it more exciting.
“People like to see spills and bumps and we think a different route will achieve that,” he explained.
“As for holding the event on a Saturday, we will have to sell that idea to the shopkeepers.”