MX Nationals need clarity from government
A lack of government clarity on border openings and crowd restrictions has WEM now unsure of viability of a 2020 MX Nationals Championship
In light of the recent pandering for headlines by individual state premiers we thought it might be worth checking in with MX Nationals promoter Kevin Williams as to the problems being faced by MX Nationals.
Trev – It was only a few weeks ago when it looked as though the MX Nationals had a fairly clear projected series schedule for the running of the 2020 MX Nationals calendar. The Queensland Premier recently stated that there are no guarantees that Queensland will open its borders in September, let alone by the August 9 date that you have scheduled in the most recent draft calendar for round one at Conondale, that must be causing you some consternation?
Kev – “Look basically where I am sitting at the moment…We knew there was a little speculation in our last proposed dates, but we were recently encouraged by the Victorian government staring to open things up. I guess we are in 14-21 day period to see what happens. My gut is that voter sentiment will decide when various governments move to ease restrictions in other states, and I can’t see them being closed through September.
“But then of course we also need clarity on the numbers of people that are going to be allowed. If we are only allowed 500 people then the numbers just don’t stack up. The clubs need to make money and realistically that requires a minimum of 1500 paying spectators to come through the gates.
“Rugby League Commisioner Peter V’landys recently announced a plans to allow crows in July yet that plan today has been slammed by the Australian Medical Association as ‘absurd and dangerous’.
“We have put to some deadlines on what we can. We will review again in a couple of weeks, essentialy by the middle of June we are going to need some clarity in regards to borders and crowd numbers. If we are 80 per cent confident that the restrictions will be eased to allow the numbers we require then we roll the dice..
“At the end of the day these are commercial decisions, we can’t sit here doing nothing for the next few months waiting. We need to have some firm direction by the end of next month to make an educated call on whether we go ahead or not.”
Trev – Might it be just too risky to potentially schedule any rounds in Queensland this year, when the Premier wants an indefinitely dated exclusion zone around the Sunshine State? And the voters seem to be backing her, let’s face it half of QLD would secede given half the chance…
“Currently we are seeing very small numbers of new infections, if people generally do the right thing, then we should be okay. Will we get a second wave? I think that is likely, going on history, how that will look in Australia who knows..
“Even within Victoria, if we are limited to a few hundred people through the gates we simply can’t run. The only thing that can work for us is time, meanwhile we just stare into the crystal ball…”
So potentially you are saying MX Nationals might not run at all this season?
“By the end of June, if they are not giving us guidelines that by August-September we can run with viable crowds then we would not be able to get going. To stage one of these events, preparing the track and venue, there is no change out of 30k for a club to stage a round, let alone our costs. .. We need to be able to get 1500 or 2000 through gate to make that even start to look viable.
“In our previous forecast we went longer than most did, with our August prediction for round one, but if by the middle of June they are not starting to indicate that crowd numbers will be opened up around that time then we might have to make a call… If they said that from the middle of August they were looking to allow crowds, then we would reshuffle the dates again and look towards getting on the starting gates, but if much longer than that, then we would potentially have no MX Nationals this year.
“I won’t be in a position to go more than nine months without an income. We should have to start a new path, what that could be I have no idea. While I am stepping away from life as a promoter in 2021, I am still in discussions with AME about being involved in their Supercross plans. And am also talking to clients about various consultancy work. Not the best time to find yourself unemployed I guess, but we are all in this together and will get through to the other side eventually…”
Supercross is back this weekend
Supercross gets back underway this weekend after its COVID-19 enforced hiatus.
The series will resume on May 31 and will run through a June 21 conclusion.
The last race was held at Daytona in early March so when the gates drop in Salt Lake City on May 31 it would have been almost three months since riders felt the heat of competition.
This fast conclusion to the season will see seven quick-fire rounds ran over the space of only three weeks running two events per week, one on a Wednesday and another on the Sunday.
The events will all run without spectators making the events a distinctly made for TV affair and every round will take place inside Rice-Eccles Stadium in Sat Lake City, Utah.
Each round will have only one main event race.
2020 SX Calendar
- Rnd 11 May 31
- Rnd 12 June 3
- Rnd 13 June 7
- Rnd 14 June 10
- Rnd 15 June 13
- Rnd 16 June 17
- Rnd 17 June 21
FIM Hard Enduro World Cup
It finally seems as though the stalemate between the FIM World Enduro GP and WESS might finally be heading towards some sort of resolution towards an FIM Hard Enduro World Cup. FIM representatives recently stated; ‘Ongoing and positive negotiations and communication took place with KTM/WESS with regards to the FIM Hard Enduro World Cup, it was expected that a final agreement be reached within a short period.’
American Flat Track
American Flat Track this week announced a relaunch of its 2020 race schedule featuring doubleheader race weekends and kicking off on July 17 and 18 with the Volusia Half-Mile at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. The revised schedule features 18 races over nine doubleheader weekends and culminates in a two-day finale during Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach.
In addition to NBC Sports coverage on NBCSN and live streaming of all 18 events via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, AFT has worked diligently toward the goal of having fan attendance at all of its venues. This would include the implementation of new health & safety protocols that will help provide a safe environment for fans, competitors and staff, including reduced capacity, staggered seating, mobile ticketing, cashless transactions and enhanced sanitation.
AFT officials continue to collaborate with public health experts to develop this comprehensive plan in accordance with all federal, state and local requirements. All race-day procedures have been thoroughly reviewed and will continue to be examined and updated to follow specific guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local authorities.
At all American Flat Track events new guidelines and protocols will include:
- Reduction in ticket availability to conform with state and local guidelines for sporting events
- Reserved seating areas to include buffer zones to provide ample space between fans
- Fans entering the venue will be provided with complimentary facial coverings
- Enhanced sanitation and disinfection protocols with frequent cleaning throughout the facility
- Enhancements to mobile ticketing and elimination of printed tickets
- Cashless, contactless transactions for concessions and merchandise
- Regular medical screening of staff and competitors
As an additional precaution, there will be no public access to the paddock area and AFT officials have suspended Fan Walk, rider autograph sessions and paddock upgrades for the remainder of the season. Event-specific health & safety procedures will be updated to meet or exceed state and local requirements as they are updated over the coming months. Through an updated communication protocol, AFT and its promoter partners will provide regular updates to fans via press releases, website updates, social media posts, email distribution and text messaging.
Careful consideration has been given to secure a full 18-round race schedule that is logistically possible for riders, teams and staff, while also providing the opportunity for fan attendance. Following a thorough review of state guidelines and consultation with local officials by AFT’s promoter partners, certain events that were originally scheduled for 2020 have been cancelled.
Updated 2020 American Flat Track Schedule*
- July 17 (Fri): Volusia Half-Mile I – Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, FL
- July 18 (Sat): Volusia Half-Mile II – Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, FL
- July 31 (Fri): Lima Half-Mile I – Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH
- August 1 (Sat): Lima Half-Mile II – Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH
- August 28 (Fri): TBA, Northeast U.S.
- August 29 (Sat): TBA, Northeast U.S.
- September 5 (Sat): Springfield Mile I** – Illinois State Fairgrounds – Springfield, IL
- September 6 (Sun): Springfield Mile II – Illinois State Fairgrounds – Springfield, IL
- September 11 (Fri):Williams Grove Half-Mile I – Williams Grove Speedway – Mechanicsburg, PA
- September 12 (Sat): Williams Grove Half-Mile II – Williams Grove Speedway – Mechanicsburg, PA
- September 25 (Fri): TBA, TX
- September 26 (Sat): TBA, TX
- October 2 (Fri): Atlanta Short Track I – Dixie Speedway – Woodstock, GA
- October 3 (Sat): Atlanta Short Track II – Dixie Speedway – Woodstock, GA
- October 9 (Fri): TBA, NC
- October 10 (Sat): TBA, NC
- October 15 (Thu): AFT Season Finale I – Daytona Beach, FL
- October 16 (Fri): AFT Season Finale II – Daytona Beach, FL
*As the situation, regulations and protocols regarding COVID-19 progress, dates and venues listed above are subject to change.
**AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys will participate in the Springfield TT on Friday, September 4.