The latest ongoing developments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Words: Simon Makker
At the start of May we’re usually talking about the final round of Monster Energy Supercross and looking ahead to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, but 2020 is certainly not your usual year. With so much fluidity and uncertainty about the schedules, it’s hard to keep tabs of the latest developments, so as of this morning, these questions and answers explain the situation as it stands.
What’s the latest that the Monster Energy Supercross championship is expected to resume?
The current plan being worked on is to try and blast through the remaining seven rounds of the championship from 31 May to about 21 June at one venue. Obviously that many rounds don’t conventionally fit into three weeks, so it’s expected between two and three rounds will happen each week. The short money is on Glendale, Arizona, being the host venue, but we’ve heard Houston or Las Vegas are being considered as alternatives if required. It goes without saying that with the mass gatherings rules currently in effect, the rounds will be held in empty stadiums. To further limit the amount of people on the ground it’s expected that only the top 40 riders from each class – or less – could be invited to get behind the gate. There are still a lot of logistics and kinks to be ironed out, but as it currently stands we’re holding hope that we’ll see the championship resume in a little over three weeks time.
How does this affect the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and how many rounds can we expect in each championship as it stands?
The organizers are still publicly stating that Pro Motocross will continue to contain 11 rounds following the cancellation of Hangtown, although they’re revising the schedule pending confirmation of state reopening guidelines. MX Sports Pro Racing is hoping to announce final dates and locations by 15 May. As for Supercross, whether it’s held in the coming weeks or later in the fall, the aim is to complete the remaining seven rounds.
What’s the Safe-to-Race Task Force?
This task force – a group of more than 40 minds across the motorsports, medical and technical fields – was set up to develop a toolkit designed to help motorsports organizers at all levels, including national venues and local tracks, navigate the coronavirus in order to reopen and safely run events. The toolkit, which was published yesterday, outlines the best practice for events and operations post COVID-19, complying with state and federal social distancing guidelines and helps event organizers work with local officials to develop plans to reopen their racetracks.
Will racing be different when it returns?
Definitely – racing as we’ve known it is expected to change significantly. According to the toolkit, don’t expect any more podium celebrations or interviews, mechanics areas, opening ceremonies, autograph sessions, rider briefings (which will be done over an FM channel instead) or anything that encourages people to congregate in a small space. Among a host of other outlined measures, venues will be asked to adopt advance online ticketing and electronic waivers for hands-free registration, parking will be spaced out to maintain approximately 10 feet between vehicles, bleachers or any fixed seating in general spectating areas will be restricted and/or eliminated for outdoors, and food trucks will be initially limited and serving lines marked out.
Are ticket-holders of cancelled/postponed rounds out of pocket?
Ticket sales for the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship have been temporarily placed on hold as the promoters and round organizers adapt to the situation. Fans that have already purchased tickets to a 2020 national don’t need to do anything for now, but if a refund is necessary, they’ll have until a week before their event to have a refund arranged, even if the round has been rescheduled.
What do these new schedules mean for the Monster Energy Cup?
On paper the latest timeframes that MX Sports for Pro Motocross announced could see the Monster Energy Cup proceed as normal. It’s currently penciled in for 11 October at Carson, CA, but any further delays or extensions to the outdoors will obviously impinge on this date. There are also considerations about California’s appetite for mass gatherings and events to factor in. Unfortunately we’re going to have to simply wait and see how this pandemic plays out, but as a standalone event, you’d have to think the MEC would be one of the first events sacrificed, should the Pro Motocross or Supercross championships get shuffled back any further in the year.