While the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak continue to interrupt many aspects of many lives around the world, the resumption of motorsports activity is starting to happen at racetracks across America.
SoCal Track Days took advantage of the recent easing of social distancing restrictions in Riverside County, California, and was able to host regularly scheduled track days — albeit with extra precautions to safeguard the health of staff and attendees — on May 2-3 at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway.
Participants spaced their pit set-ups widely across the paddock, wore face coverings when not in their pit areas or on their motorcycles, and SoCal Track Days and Chuckwalla Valley Raceway co-owner Micky Grana even opened up individual bathrooms in garages to provide an alternative to using the community restrooms, which were closed.
This Saturday, May 9, Let’s Ride Track Days is holding a regularly scheduled event at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Kern County, California, albeit with new steps to protect the health of all involved. There will be multiple registration lines and tech inspection lines instead of single lines, there will be separate riders’ meetings for each skill level group to minimize the size of the meetings, and face coverings will be required when not riding or in your own pit space.
“We are super excited to get back out and it’s awesome that we are able to do it as soon as we are,” said Sarah Domingo, co-owner of Let’s Ride Track Days. “We know a lot of people are still having to wait, but thankfully Buttonwillow worked with the county to help make this happen.”
After having to postpone or cancel several events through April and early May, WERA Motorcycle Roadracing (WERA) is planning to go ahead with its scheduled Sportsman Series race event May 16-17 at Roebling Road Raceway, near Savannah, Georgia. And like the other organizations, WERA is planning to implement extra measures to reduce the risks, including asking participants to limit the number of people they bring with them, to wear face coverings, to give themselves extra space when setting up in the pits, and to order ahead for timed pickups from the track’s concession stand so no one will have to stand in line.
In addition, WERA will supply hand sanitizer at registration and tech inspection, will regularly disinfect items touched and used at registration, and will provide a printout of all the special procedures and precautions to observe during the event.
“We are excited to show that road racing can be done using guidelines and that life needs to return to reality,” Evelyne Clarke, CEO of WERA Motorcycle Roadracing, wrote to Roadracingworld.com. “We will follow these guidelines at Roebling Road and maybe we will all be able to return to our sport and soon our fans will also be able to join us!”
Likewise, ASRA/CCS is planning to hold its annual Memorial Day Weekend race event May 23-25 at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia – its first event since the Daytona 200 was postponed March 13 – as long as local government officials approve its health and safety plan.
ASRA/CCS plans to provide staff with face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants; to supply one pen to each rider to use at registration, and to sterilize returned pens after each use; to limit the number of people who can be inside the registration building at one time to no more than 10 racers; to ask racers to maintain a minimum of six feet of spacing at all times in the paddock, the registration building, and at tech inspection; to instruct racers to place their motorcycles on stands and step away during technical inspections; and more. ASRA/CCS is also considering taking the temperature of racers before they enter the registration building and is looking into using a new touchless registration procedure.
“We want to get back to racing and the tracks want to get back to racing,” ASRA/CCS President Kevin Elliott told Roadracingworld.com. “They’re really willing to work with us and present these event plans [to the local officials] because they have a better relationship with their local authorities than we do.
“We think the steps we’re taking are at least reasonable for us to get out there and get started. Our racers are smart. They’re going to work with us and do this right.
“We’re expecting a conference call on Monday [May 11] afternoon with the racetrack and hopefully with local officials. They’ll either tell us we need to do more, we’re good, or there’s no way we get to run it.”
Some other events that are still planned to go ahead as scheduled include: Reg Pridmore’s CLASS Motorcycle School May 11 at Streets of Willow, in Rosamond, California; TrackDaz’s track day event May 16-17 at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, in Desert Center, California; Sportbike Track Time’s track day event May 16-17 at Grattan Raceway, in Belding, Michigan; Evolve GT School and Track Days May 16-17 at NCBIKE in Garysburg, North Carolina; and Keith Code’s California Superbike School May 23-26 at Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Alabama.
Meanwhile, events scheduled at other venues during this same time period have been postponed or cancelled due to concerns with COVID-19 and local restrictions.
If you are an organizer and have a scheduled race, school, or track day event that has been postponed or cancelled, contact us as soon as possible at [email protected] so we can update your calendar listing on our website and in Roadracing World magazine.
As always, Roadracing World advises that before traveling to an event you should contact the organizer to confirm the event is still going to happen.