Coronavirus and NZ motorsport: what's been cancelled, and what's still on
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Formula 1, MotoGP, IndyCar, World Rally Championship and many other international motor racing series are among the major motor sports events now on hold as the response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic evolves.
New Zealand event organisers are also grappling with the new landscape with postponements and altered plans already being announced.
At present it’s primarily events with some degree of international participation that are in the front line of decision making.
The 14-day self-isolation requirement announced for all visitors arriving in New Zealand means the second New Zealand appearance of Australia’s Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Series won’t happen at Masterton Motorplex this Saturday.
At this stage the Masterton meeting is going ahead with the final round of the National Drag Racing points series but without the Funny Car Series.
This afternoon the Repco Beach Hop — which would have been a 20th birthday celebration for the rock ‘n’ roll and car culture festival that draws thousands to the Coromandel coastal township of Whangamata — was postponed. Beach Hop 20 was to run March 25-29 and has been postponed till November 25-29.
The self-isolation requirement is also expected to have a significant effect on the strong international entry for the DriveSouth Otago Rally Festival set for April 3-5. The event had received 30 intentions to enter from overseas crews and those numbers now aren’t expected to materialise.
‘‘It is with real sadness that we realise the large contingent of international competitors, media and fans will no longer be able to attend,’’ the Otago organisers said in statement issued on Sunday.
‘‘These enthusiasts have always been hugely valued and appreciated, and we have already been in contact with those affected competitors.
‘‘They are now dealing with unwinding the considerable logistics involved in competing at Otago, and while this situation is out of our hands, it is not something we would wish on anyone.’’
At this point the Otago Rally is going ahead.
‘‘There are 96 New Zealand teams entered, a fantastic number by any standards. The Asia-Pacific Cup component can likewise proceed as the field was solely Kiwi teams,’’ organisers said.
‘‘We recognise that the decision to continue is still subject to further restrictions that might be announced this week by the Prime Minister, or other authorities, and we will need to fully comply with these.’’
That sentence essentially sums up the approach of all event organisers for the foreseeable future.
Among the major motorsport events around the country in the next few weeks are the final round of the Speedworks summer motor racing series at Hampton Downs on March 27-29 while two rounds remain in the NZ Superbike Champs at Manfeild (March 28-29) and Taupo (April 4-5).
NZ Motorsport Events cancellation / postponement update
• Final round of theNew Zealand Drag Racing Championship at Masterton Motorplex (March 21-22) has been cancelled.
• Repco Beach Hop 2020 (March 25-29) at Whangamata has been postponed till November 25-29.
• South Island Secondary Schools Motocross Championship at Southland (March 28) has been postponed. New date to be advised.
• Final round of the Speedworks Summer Motor Racing Series at Hampton Downs (March 28-29) has been postponed. New date to be advised.
• North Island Secondary Schools Motocross Championship at Taupo (April 3) has been postponed. New date to be advised
• Fourth and final rounds of the New Zealand Superbike Championship at Manfeild (March 28-29) and Taupo (April 4-5) have been postponed. New dates to be advised.
• Bay Rodders Nostalgia Drags and NZ Club Champs at Meremere Dragway (April 4-5) have been cancelled.
• KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship at Christchurch (April 10-13) has been postponed. New date to be advised.
• New Zealand Junior Motocross Championship at TECT All Terrain Park, Tauranga (April 17-19) has been postponed until further notice.