On Thursday May 14, The Ontario Government released the first phase in their plan to re-open the province amidst the coronavirus pandemic. While it was a lengthy list, there was a section that caught the attention of many race fans across the province.
Under the section titled Individual sports competitions without spectators, the government document stated, “Professional and amateur sport activity for individual/single competitors, including training and competition conducted by a recognized Provincial Sport Organization, National Sport Organization, or recognized national Provincial training centres (e.g., Canadian Sport Institute Ontario) with return to play protocols in place and no spectators, except for an accompanying guardian for a person under the age of 18 years.”
The detailed list underneath that speaking of which sports are allowed included specifically “car and motorcycle racing.”
So what does this mean moving forward?
If a track wants to, they can open up for testing or rentals in theory, as long as social distancing measures are in place. There could possibly be events hosted as well, but it would have to be done without fans – just like we’re seeing at some US tracks and using PPV to pay the bills.
The lack of profit return, combined with wanting to focus on a full opening instead and playing it safe, may result in many tracks electing to keep their doors closed for the time being. But there’s some chances, as mentioned above.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is this offers some light at the end of the tunnel for both race track operators and fans alike. We have gone from having no answers at all towards the possibility of a season, to a glimmer of hope in seeing some doors re-open before us. it offers curiosity in wondering whether further abilities will be allotted in the next two phases of Doug Ford’s plan.
There is also a good chance that we could get into those phases in the next couple of months, based on the original lay-out as released by the government in dates extending through from now through mid-July. While we may not get our full seasons, continuing to see a decline or ultimately no increase in cases, may allow for some racing – perhaps a couple events at each track around the province. Anything is better than nothing, right?
The main thing, for now, is that the drivers and fans need to continue to support the tracks and series by standing alongside them in the decisions made forward, understanding where they’re coming from, and being ready to attend and put on shows when we’re all allowed. Ultimately, along these lines, co-operation should be understood as well, in not blowing up the promoter’s phone lines as they work through what they need to for things to happen. Certainly when they answers, they’ll let us know. However, let’s give them space as they’re certainly dealing with more than we are.
Below are the statements as released by the tracks thus far since the announcement, with Grand Bend Speedway, Varney Speedway and Sunset Speedway laying out their intentions while Peterborough Speedway and Flamboro Speedway take a step back to evaluate options.
I understand the news released a few hours ago is getting everyone excited to get rolling. Please wait for a post regarding if and when we can start doing track rentals. We are still waiting for rules, regulations and restrictions. We will post when we are good to go. Blowing up inboxes will only prolong the preparation. Thank you and stay tuned.” – Dave Sikma of Peterborough Speedway