During the 2020 season the Track Racing scene was heavily impacted by Covid-19 which saw very events take place. One organiser who managed to stage some events towards the end of the season was the GW Racing club in the Eastern Centre. Speaking about the 2020 and plans for 2021 season George Wilby gave us the following update.
Having hosted a number of events during 2020, how did the Clubs find staging of events during the Covid restrictions?
During the close season we decided to run three meetings with no idea what was going to happen then this virus swept through the country. But we thought we could run the first meeting with permission from the ACU and all concerned. We went ahead as planned with the first event as a practice meeting as we all know we were only allowed one rider and one mechanic. We had to check all vans to make sure the riders where doing as we asked of them.
Can you give us a brief overview of some of the measures that you had to put in place to allow the events to take place successfully?
Every one that came through the gate had their temperature taken and had to register so if we had any problems with the virus they could be easily contacted. Leading up to the event day we had to do a lot more work on the field. The pit area had to be measured and marked out for each rider to comply with social distancing. The pit boxes and the scrutineering bays also had to be made bigger to comply with the regs.
On the day we had to work to all the special regs that had to be put in place. Such as sanitising stuff. We put several sanitising stations all around the venue, the toilets had to be cleaned and sanitised after every use. Also, everyone had to wear face coverings. In total we spent £120.00 on the PPE which we were able to use at our other two meetings also.
At this meeting we only allowed four riders out on track at one time to make sure we were all happy with the safety requirements were adhered to.
After running your first events did you find any additional measures and changes that you needed to put in place prior to the remaining events?
After the success of this meeting, we decided to carry on with our other two meetings. We soon realised there would be no spectators at these meetings. Both meetings where easy to run as we followed the pattern of our first meeting. Both meetings were held under the COVID 19 rules, so we had a proper race meeting.
How was your local authorities’ reaction to your events and were they supportive?
We had to get permission from the local councils to run these meetings and after several e-mails between us everything was agreed to be able to run. At first, they were doubtful but when they realised, we were running through the ACU and under the strict rules from the COVID 19 they were very helpful.
Is there any advice or guidance that you would give to any other ACU clubs looking to run events during these Covid-19 times?
I do not know if I am in any way advising other clubs on running these events as there is a lot of things to be considered such as the finance side of having no revenue from the public. We are thankful to have had the generous support from our sponsor. Having said that I am very happy to have gone ahead with the events and feel clubs should run if they feel it is possible.
Finally, as a club what plans do you have for running events during the 2021 season?
Whatever happens with this pandemic we will try and run the four events we have planned for 2021. I hope this pandemic fade into the distance so as we can all try and get back to normal during 2021.
Speaking about the impact Covid 19 had on the sport of Track Racing, Tony Steele the ACU Track Racing Chairman said, “The effect of Covid 19 virtually put an end to Track Racing activity in 2020. Not only faced with the threat of the virus itself, understandably venue's were reluctant to run events that could risk being responsible for enhancing its spread. A major issue not fully appreciated is that many of the volunteers on whom the sport is heavily reliant also fall into the vulnerable age group so protecting their position is a major consideration.
The two articles about the Mid Cornwall and GW Racing event highlighted the considerable efforts made to provide some activity. The ACU and Track Racing Committee cannot overstate their appreciation for the efforts made by those organisers who tried to offer something during what proved to be difficult times. These events required far greater commitment in terms of time, setting up the venue's with significant additional safety precautions in conjunction with the additional financial implications. It is a testament to these efforts that such excellent reports were received from competitors. officials, attendees, and the relevant local authority representatives about the safety measures that had been implemented.
Whilst at present it is unclear as to when activity will be able to commence in 2021, it is worth stressing that we remain fully committed to supporting any club or organiser who are prepared to open the doors whilst fully respecting Government requirements.
A benefit of the situation presented in 2020 meant that a significant effort was put into producing and understanding the administrative side of requirements in terms of documentation which many find daunting and again assistance here will continue to be available to any club or organiser".