Australian championship hopeful to commence at Newry in May.
The promoter of the MXstore MX Nationals has confirmed Horsham’s season-opener has been postponed in anticipation of further restrictions on major events due to the coronavirus.
The decision has been made collectively with Motorcycling Australia and FIM Oceania, who’ve been constantly monitoring the situation in Australia and have preemptively delayed round one in Victoria, initially planned for 4-5 April, in an effort to reduce inconvenience and financial strain on riders, teams, clubs and fans.
It’s understood the series is hopeful of commencing at Newry in Victoria on 3 May, although it will continue to evaluate the situation in the country. The Horsham round is likely to be slotted in at a later stage in the season, with the calendar understood to be in a position to be moved around to make way for any changes.
“Since World Superbikes, we’ve been in discussions with Motorcycling Australia keeping up to date with their position and the FIM’s position, clearly it’s escalating,” MX Nationals promoter Kevin Williams told MotoOnline.com.au. “Obviously the announcement today of the FIM has pushed back their calendar, there’s the AMA pushing back – globally, everyone is addressing it.
“There’s an underlying feeling that the government could move to restrict events with a capacity of over 1000-1500 people. We don’t have broadcast rights that would allow us to continue to run a race without a crowd – the clubs and the sport need the spectators. We’ve made the decision with MA – obviously, the first round has international elements with the Tri-Nations Cup – so we know everyone is doing it tough financially, and the coming months are going to be tough on people.
“We wanted to make an informed decision with first and foremost the health of everyone – riders, spectators, family and friends, and also the community. When you go to regional areas, they’ve got limited medical services – a lot of things have been taken into consideration. Prevention is better than cure, and as a sport and a championship, we want to be proactive in the whole communities concerns.
“We’ve made the decision now, rather than be forced to make the decision and have people spend a fair amount of money and not have the opportunity to get it back – or spend money they really can’t afford to come to an event that may not be able to run.
“We made the decision today, and like everybody, we’re reviewing it on a daily and weekly basis from a business perspective. Motorcycling Australia, FIM Oceania and myself have been in discussion since the World Superbikes on a regular basis reviewing it, and we’ve collectively made the decision today in the interest of the sport and the communities in which we travel to, and to our competitors and fans.”
Horsham’s MX Nationals is the first Australian motorcycling event to be postponed or cancelled, while globally, there’s been cancellations and postponements in the MXGP World Championship and Monster Energy Supercross series’. This weekend’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix was cancelled this morning, with more sporting events around the country expected to follow suit.