The ACU has revealed today its plans for restarting motorcycle sport in the UK. If everything goes well we could be legally riding (but not yet racing) from July 4th, but a full return to a national racing/competition programme looks more likely to be set for 2021.
In a press release issued this morning the ACU says:
“The ACU, in partnership with the ACMA, have decided that a phased return to sporting events will commence in parallel with the Government’s Step Three. This coincides with the reopening of remaining business, public places and leisure facilities which have been required to close. As of 12th May, Step Three is due to begin from 4th July but this is under constant review. We will assess the situation again when the Government implements Step Two, envisaged to be the 1st June.
“In the coming weeks, the ACU and AMCA will publish guidance documents for organisers looking to run restricted events after this time. This will give organisers time to consider the implications of continued social distancing and prepare future events safely.
“In order to reflect the differences in devolved administrations, no British Championship Enduro, Motocross, Trials or Speedway will take place until travel restrictions between England/ Scotland/ Wales/ Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man have been lifted and other factors considered, in line with Government guidance.”
The ACU simultaneously issued a six-page document called ‘The ACU Coronavirus Operational Plan’ which guides clubs and organisers through the three-phases of their planned return to competition (‘response, resumption and recovery’). The ACU warns that lockdown restrictions will probably restrict first rides to practice, not racing, without spectators and a limit on rider and helper numbers with a strict social distancing protocol.
The ACU warns not to be too optimistic of an early return to a full programme of events:
“…we are mindful that many of the social distancing restrictions may remain in place until a vaccine for the virus is found, in which case we will need to adjust to a ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future. There is a clear risk that there could be a second or third wave of the virus over the next 12 months, which would necessitate a further lockdown period. It is vital therefore that we retain a high degree of flexibility within our plans in order to adapt to changing circumstances over the weeks and months ahead.”
Worryingly for the ACU, they report the loss of income from sport this year will result in a ‘seven figure loss forecast for 2020’ for the organising body – albeit based on a worst case scenario. They anticipate returning to ‘break-even’ by the end of 2021.