Mark Eastwood, Great Britain’s team manager for the forthcoming Red Bull Motocross des Nations, has been withdrawn from his post by the UK’s governing body, the ACU, just less than a month before the 63rd instalment of this historic event. It seems that, following remarks in a magazine that were highly critical of the way Grand Prix motocross is run FIM, Youthstream and Guiseppe Luongo, the ACU was advised that his presence at the event in Italy would not be welcome, consequently leading to his removal from the role. Eastwood, a former Grand Prix and AMA National racer, is still an active racer and the reigning British 2 Stroke Open class champion – his controversial 2009 team of Carl Nunn, Brad Anderson and Tommy Searle omitted Billy Mackenzie and Shaun Simpson whose seasons have both been marred by injury, but while the ACU backed –and continues to back – his team choice, it seems they were unable to stand for his criticisms of the sport’s leaders.
At 5.30, the ACU released a joint press release with Easty –
“MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS 2009 – TEAM MANAGER
A Joint Press Release issued by the ACU with Mark Eastwood.
The ACU has decided to withdraw Mark Eastwood from the post of Manager for the British Team in the forthcoming Motocross of Nations. This is as a result of his article in the August issue of Moto magazine in which he made some inappropriate remarks relating to the FIM, Youthstream and its President concerning their management of this world championship..
Motocross Committee Chairman Brian Higgins commented, "It is a pity Mark made such detrimental remarks as the ACU are very supportive of the work both Youthstream and the FIM, including the Presidents, are doing for world motocross. I believe Mark has been a very good Team Manager in the past and stood by his decisions which have not always been easy. I spoke to him at length on the telephone during which he offered his apologies but unfortunately the damage had been done".
Higgins invited Eastwood to comment in this statement, "To say I am disappointed at the outcome of this would be an understatement as I genuinely enjoyed my role as Team Manager of Great Britain – but for those who know me will also realize that, although I am sometimes outspoken, I believe in my views and decisions, otherwise why speak? Maybe that is why I have had such a long career in the sport. For the ACU to still stand by my choice of team hopefully echoes their trust in the fact that I was doing a good job, but slipped up with the media…. It’s a shame really, but good luck to the team and Great Britain as my heart was totally in the job!".
The ACU will now look at the way forward with regard to a replacement but have confirmed that the ACU will stand by Eastwood's original team selection.”