Well, here we are fellow Lansdowne racers, bodies and bikes tuned to perfection awaiting the start of the 2020 season, all praying that the pandemic that threatens us all is reducing and as most of us are facing a return to work and the new normal life. It leaves in its wake the classic motorcycle competitor with a ruddy great racing itch to scratch. In what seems a very, very long time since we last donned our leathers, dropped a visor and gave our bikes ‘what for’. There remains one key question, to which unfortunately there are few clear answers, and that question is:
When are we going to go racing?
A very good question with no satisfactory answer it would seem. One problem is running a race meeting with COVID-19 safety procedures in place. The ACU has published a document outlining what needs to be done to cover this issue which you may well have looked at, as it was emailed to all licence holders. Organisers have to cope with:
- Not being able to camp overnight at the circuit – though this might change soon
- Restricting entries to rider +1 other in order to limit total numbers
- Structuring signing-on to limit any possible contact
- Structuring tech control to limit contact – sanitised bike left at designated place to be inspected etc
- No clubhouse, bar, no prize giving etc
- Parking in paddock strictly laid out with distancing between vehicles
- PPE for officials
- Protecting marshals and riders on track
Plus, a number of more complex issues to do with the local authority and so on.
Where does this leave our 2020 classic racing season?
We have dates at Cadwell with NGRRC on July 18th and 19th, Donington with CRMC on August 8th and 9th and Croft with CRMC on October 3rd and 4th. Racing could start from July 4th, but it is unlikely that clubs will be able to get arrangements in place to run in July. The Festival at Donington will not be able to be run as a Festival so we will have to see what happens.
Possibly by October, enough old normality will have returned to run a race meeting. We have no idea whether the Revival will run but given that 100,000 spectators go there over a weekend and the paddock is jammed with people we can guess that if it does, it will be a very different Revival.
However, the ACU has very sensibly suggested that riders ought to take part in testing and practice before racing so the first meetings back are likely to have time set aside for this.
With the possibility of two race restricted race meetings the Championships would not be run.
Who’s keen… who’s not?
So with no socialising, which after all is a big part of why we go racing, no gathering around taking the Micky out of each other and tiresome extra delays due to the new procedures, before getting out on track, we need to think carefully whether we want to go racing.
Probably the issue that will make it or break it for our riders concerns the fact that quite a lot of us are in a high-risk age group, 65-75. So each rider will have to weigh up whether they want to risk going to a race circuit with the infection risk this might bring, against not going racing and staying away from any gatherings until the infection rate approaches zero.
Is that it then?
We are more resilient than that, and with Team Lansdowne having its fingers in many pies we are in a great position to be able to be at the front of the queue with the race organisers. When it’s really safe to do so, not so-called track day safe!!
All in all, let’s just get through this period of growing ruddy veggies, painting paint, and making noggins to hold the door open, then return strong and eager to the best classic race series around. Keep your chins up, maybe grab a copy of Andy Reynolds’ or Charlie Williams’ books, keep in touch with your fellow racers and watch this space for future information as it happens.