By Paul Evans
It will come as no surprise to hear that the suspension of all motorsport in the UK has been extended until at least 30 June.
Motorsport UK, the governing body, has acted quickly in light of recent developments in the COVID-19 crisis in giving clear guidance to event organisers, venues, competitors, officials and volunteer marshals of the role that motorsport must play in supporting the broader UK public health agenda. And that is to stay at home.
The new suspension period means that the 2020 Pirelli Motorsport UK Welsh Stage Rally Championship might not start until the Nicky Grist Stages on 11 July, with the Plains Rally (16 May) and Red Kite Stages Rally (14 June) being forced to postpone.
It’s a similar situation with the JD Tyres Welsh Tarmacadam Rally Championship calendar, with three more rallies – the Harlech Stages on 10 May, Red Dragon IT Stages on 23 May and the Mid Summer Caerwent Stages on 28 June – missing the cut, with the next unaffected round being the Harry Flatters Rally on Epynt on 26 July.
The Welsh Road Rally Championship is the least affected. Taking place mainly in the months where the nights are longest, only the Rali Bro Cader (20/21 June) has fallen victim to the extended suspension, meaning just three of the 12 rounds are currently postponed.
The new ruling also affects events at Anglesey Circuit and the at Welsh Motorsport Centre – including the Historic Sports Car Club meeting on 27/28 June, which was to be the centrepiece of the Pembrey venue’s 30th Anniversary celebrations.
It’s of course impossible to predict when motorsport will be allowed to return to the Welsh forests, lanes and race tracks, and with events already scheduled for the second half of the year, it will be difficult to find a free slot on the calendar for all the postponed events anyway.
“Motorsport UK has a vital role to play with its community in reinforcing that, at this time of national emergency, we must all stay at home to play our part in protecting the NHS and ultimately saving lives,” said Ruthin-born David Richards CBE, Chairman of Motorsport UK.
“Today, the government have required that we effectively lock-down for a period of three weeks, however given that the most vulnerable in our society are required to isolate for three months, it is evident that the most responsible course of action was to propose a longer suspension of our sport. When we reflect back on this time, it will be a brief, but vital, hiatus from our everyday motorsport life and we must put this in perspective. This is a time of national unity and we need to come together with the broader public community to do all we can to support this battle and ultimately save lives.”