Although this is a great weekend for motocross, with the return of Grand Prix racing in Latvia, some bad news has filtered in from the United Kingdom. The 2020 ACU British Motocross Championship has been cancelled. Official communication is below.
The light that was shining at the end of the tunnel has sadly diminished to an ebbing glow which has continued to fade day-by-day.
The incredibly difficult decision has been taken by the ACU Motocross Committee during an evening video conference held on 07 August to sadly cancel the ACU British Motocross Championship for this year. As previously notified, all guns were blazing for an emphatic season opening double-header event (the first time in ACU British motocross history) over the August bank holiday weekend at Foxhill, but despite the best efforts of all concerned and five weeks of continued negotiations the permission of the local authorities and the local police has not been granted.
Along with “unprecedented times,” the other well used word is “perception” and with Swindon now ranked in the top-ten areas where the coronavirus rate of infection is on the increase. To hold a motorcycle sport event in an area where the infection is increasing would show motocross in a particularly bad light. Moving on from Foxhill, Woodbridge MCC, voted as best organiser of the British Motocross Championship several times in the last few years, received a letter from their local authority on Friday stating that “it would be unlikely that permission would be granted” for their proposed event and the championship finale planned for September 27. Within this document the local authority highlighted images seen on social media of public and competitors at a recent motocross event held outside of the ACU jurisdiction, blatantly ignoring social-distancing measures and not wearing face protection, effectively ignoring UK government guidance.
Steve McCauley (Chairman of the ACU Motocross Committee): “Despite our best efforts and those of our organisers, it would appear we have been thwarted by a combination of factors that have put a stop to the British Championship. We did look at running championship events without spectators, but Foxhill has already been stopped with or without spectators. The final round at Blaxhall looked incredibly unlikely and in the ‘cold light of day’ it cannot be ignored that for the organiser of a British Championship event there would be a minimum outlay of £30k, which is a big ask for any organiser to commit to considering the event may be quashed outside of their control.
“We explored every option in and outside of the sport to financially “prop up” these rounds, but sadly we simply could not meet the required targets. Incredibly disappointing, but given the current picture of localised increases in infection throughout the British isles, also, with several European countries also seeing significant increases in infection rates our international riders could be subject to two weeks isolation as they return from international competition meaning they would not be able to compete at a British championship round. The decision to cancel was not taken lightly but, given the overwhelming circumstances, was the right decision to make.
I can and will say though, with some determination, that we will be back next year, better and stronger along with a new format for the 2021 series. I would like to give my thanks to everyone for their patience and to the organisers for stepping into the breach, and going above and beyond the call of duty to try and save the championship during these difficult times. I would also like to offer my sincerest apologies for all those who were as we were looking forward to a stacked MXGB ACU series this year. We are all absolutely gutted that we cannot deliver our championship for 2020.”
That’s it for 2020, despite the acuity of our organisers, the weeks of negotiations and hundreds of man hours trying to make this happen. The external factors beyond our control have regrettably worked against the British Championship. Furthermore, and something which is understandable, the local authorities have to do what they think best, alongside their regional police forces to keep the local populous safe within their areas and they can only base that on the evidence to which they have been made aware of.
Bring on 2021.
Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Bavo Swijgers