MotoAmerica has been cleared by authorities to hold its first racing event of 2020 — the first pro motorcycle race since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down professional sports worldwide — May 29-31 at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Getting that permission required the racing organization to develop a plan to safeguard the health of participants and officials, follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and implement best practices developed by the Race Leadership Team’s Safe-To-Race task force.
Working together with racetrack management, MotoAmerica submitted its plan to local and state authorities for approval.
What does that plan — which will likely be closely studied and scrutinized by other professional motorcycle racing organizations — entail?
For starters, MotoAmerica is requiring anyone planning to attend the event to fill out a questionnaire in advance asking if they have experienced COVID-19 symptoms, been in contact with anyone experiencing symptoms, or if they have traveled outside of the United States within the past 14 days.
All racers must pre-enter the event, which is normal, but all credential requests must be made and paid for in advance, which is new.
All attendees will be required to sign a waiver of liability and COVID-19 waiver electronically before arriving at the facility.
Contact-less check-in of participants will be implemented at registration. This will include having plexiglass shields between MotoAmerica staffers and event participants; credentials will be distributed by MotoAmerica staff. but nothing (such as pens and paperwork) will be passed between participants and staff members.
MotoAmerica officials will be provided with face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and anti-bacterial soap to help protect them from infection. And MotoAmerica workstations will be sanitized after each use.
Participants will be required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing when near the registration site.
Everyone attending the event will be required to have a face mask or helmet with them at all times.
Teams have been asked to develop their own plans to safeguard their workers’ health by following OSHA guidelines, but MotoAmerica is requiring teams to perform infrared temperature checks on their personnel to ensure no one has a temperature above 100.4 degrees F and to report anyone who does have an elevated temperature.
MotoAmerica officials working in close proximity to one another will undergo temperature checks twice daily.
Officials within functioning groups who must work closely together will be asked to maintain their distance from officials working in other functioning groups. For instance, Tech officials will be asked to maintain social distance from Grid officials during working and off-duty hours.
MotoAmerica’s medical staff has planned how to best deal with incidents and injuries, as well as how to isolate and evaluate any individual who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms while at the event.
The rider and entrant meeting will be held “virtually” using pre-recorded videos covering COVID-19 prevention measures and social distancing requirements.
Signs covering proper hand washing, social distancing, COVID-19 symptoms, etc. will be posted throughout the facility and especially at places like registration and technical inspection, and at restroom facilities.
Social distancing, masks, and other measures will be utilized by participants and staff during technical inspections, and motorcycles will be parked and retrieved from parc ferme one at a time at the direction of officials. Normally, racers enter parc ferme as they arrive from the racetrack and are released to the paddock as a group.
Masks and physical distancing will be utilized on hot pit lane. To help maintain physical distancing, teams will be assigned spots on pit lane so that teams competing in the same class will not occupy adjoining spaces.
Teams will be allowed to leave awnings and some equipment — excluding motorcycles — on hot pit lane, but they will only be allowed to occupy their spots on hot pit lane during green-flag conditions. This means that riders will leave for their first laps of a session from the paddock and teams will be expected to vacate hot pit lane immediately when the checkered flag is displayed at the end of their session, as riders will exit the track and ride straight into the paddock.
Only one of the four gates to hot pit lane will permit two-way traffic, while the remaining three gates will allow one-way traffic only.
Quick Start grid procedures will be utilized for all races, limiting riders to one person to assist them briefly on the grid. This eliminates the prolonged congregation of personnel during normal pre-grid procedures. Umbrella holders/promotional models will not be allowed at the event.
After races, only the top-three finishers, one mechanic for each rider, a representative for the winning Superbike or Supersport team, and authorized MotoAmerica staffers will be allowed to enter the podium parc ferme area. Mechanics will be required to wear a mask, and as soon as their rider’s motorcycle is placed on its stand, the mechanic must leave the area.
Anyone attending the podium ceremony must wear a face mask.
There will be no traditional post-race press conferences with the riders and the media, only post-race interviews at the podium conducted by a designated individual using a boom microphone and a camera broadcasting live to MotoAmerica’s Facebook page.
There are many other elements to MotoAmerica’s health and safety plan for the first event at Road America, including new procedures to be observed when dropping off or picking up at Dunlop’s tire fitting area.
Entrants and participants registered for the MotoAmerica event at Road America have already been sent this information.