With the 2020 ACU British Championship currently on hold, due to the coronavirus pandemic that is having an impact on series across the globe, all involved in MXGB are working tirelessly to make plans for the rest of the year. Tim Lightfoot, the championship manager at MXGB, provides some insight into the work that is going on behind the scenes below.
MX Vice: The COVID-19 situation is much bigger than our sport, but how is it trying to make plans for the 2020 ACU British Championship? Is it possible to plan at this stage or is it a case of waiting for the go ahead from the powers that be?
Tim Lightfoot: As we have all seen, COVID-19 is a global pandemic that is devastating public health and economies around the world. The ACU is continuing to monitor the situation closely in the UK and in line with government advice has suspended motorcycle events until the end of May.
From MXGB’s perspective the difficulty we face is the uncertainty of not knowing how long the restrictions will be in place. We have seen the first five rounds of the adult championship affected by bad weather and then coronavirus, that said we remain hopeful and 100% committed to restarting the championship if and when the situation in the UK allows.
Whilst it is a case of waiting, we have been planning and working through different scenarios. One of our considerations is to monitor changes in the MXGP calendar, as the world championship continues to be badly affected by the coronavirus situation internationally. We have MXGP teams racing in the ACU British MX Championship so want to avoid clashing with those dates.
During the lockdown we have been speaking with all of the major manufacturers involved in the MXGB series as well as team managers, riders and organisers to get their thoughts and input. This has been a very constructive process and one that has given some great feedback that is informing our thinking. We are all affected by the coronavirus and everyone involved in the series is working together in trying to get the best possible outcome.
Is there potentially an option where new tracks will have to be looked at, due to a clash of dates, or is it fairly certain that the current eight venues will all be in the mix to host an event when we can go racing again?
It is too soon to say for sure how many rounds will be run, and which venues will feature in a rescheduled championship. We are talking with all of the organisers involved in the original championship to establish if they can run on a new date. This may not be possible in some cases so we are exploring different options for when we can start racing again.
Is there a certain number of rounds that would be considered the minimum that’s needed in order to call this a championship? Are there any wild ideas being floated around to help get the number of rounds as high as possible?
This is also something we are discussing with our series partners and if a summer restart is possible then we would want to reschedule at least 50% of the championship. We have been looking at the options around extending the championship to the end of October, which is probably as late as we can run before daylight and weather become a factor. We are of course looking at how we can get the maximum number of rounds in the time available and also ways to increase the race count, such as the possibility of introducing a double header.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to monitor the situation and discuss our options with the various partners involved in the MXGB championship. For now, the most important thing is for everyone to stay safe and well.
These unprecedented times have obviously forced everyone to adapt and it sounds like MXGB has already done that by shelving the races that are combined with the BYC series for 2020. What was the reason for that?
Yes, we have been considering what is in the best interests of both the adult and youth British Championships and the remaining rounds of this year’s adult championship will now be standalone events and not incorporate the British Youth Championship. This decision was taken in consultation with the manufacturers, team managers and riders with the aim of putting on the best possible adult championship at the best available venues. Likewise, we feel this will give the BYC more options and we are working with Gareth Hockey and his team to ensure the best possible standalone British Youth Championship.
Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Ray Archer