First of all, very best wishes from ARCA to all our drivers, family members, friends and supporters. May you all stay safe and well!
For those interested in virtual racing and who have the requisite technology to engage in it, it is absolutely brilliant that we have been able to join together with our AROC friends and colleagues to run a virtual Alfa racing series online over the next few weeks. Full details have been circulated and also posted on social media but if you’ve somehow missed them please contact me. We owe Guy Swarbrick and David Faithful from AROC in particular a huge debt of thanks as they have been the driving force in getting this under way with practical help from Matt Daly and with me shouting encouragement from the sidelines.
My only plea to those of our drivers or potential drivers who are participating is not to spend so much money on a virtual racing set up that you don’t then have enough budget left to go racing when the lockdown ends lol!
Our 2020 Calendar
I’m sure that one of the things that will have occupied your thoughts from time to time in recent days is what will happen to our racing season. Will the Silverstone and Donington rounds be rescheduled? If we have a shortened season will it still be a Championship? If so, how will the points scoring be worked out? How many rounds will there be? Will we still have dropped scores? Et cetera et cetera…
The answer to most of these and other similar and related questions is of course unknown because they depend on what the Government decides to do regarding the lockdown, social distancing measures and the other restrictions on what we may and may not do during the pandemic.
So let’s start with what we do know. Although the details of our racing season are set out in the 2020 Regulations – as is the case for all other racing series and championships – Motorsport UK has given blanket permission for these to be varied by negotiation between the racing clubs and the circuit owners and, where relevant, championship associations like ourselves. In other words, although the Regulations have legal force, those relating to the number of rounds, the dates and location of those rounds and the consequent effects on Championship points have been waived by Motorsport UK and the relevant parties given the freedom to renegotiate them.
We have already lost the double headers at Silverstone National and Donington Park. What I am about to say has to be plastered with caveats, ifs, buts and maybes, but my understanding is that we are unlikely to be able to reschedule the Donington races but it is conceivable that the Silverstone meeting could be moved to November. However, nothing can be decided for definite unless and until the lockdown is lifted and we know for certain which of the remaining scheduled meetings can go ahead. All eyes are on our Snetterton triple header on 18/19 July at present as to whether or not this can go ahead and get our season under way. My understanding is that club racing events that are scheduled are very unlikely to be cancelled and displaced by other higher profile events – attention will be focused on rescheduling around the existing calendar and where possible adding additional races into the meetings that are allowed to proceed.
We are all in a state of suspended animation at the moment, but once the ban on racing is lifted that state will abruptly change to one of frantic activity.
As with the shape of the season, the financial implications of the current lockdown as they affect motor racing are unclear at present and there is little I can say as it is not a subject I know a great deal about. However, for sure the racing clubs (our 750 MC, BRSCC, BARC, etc.) will be under considerable financial pressure at the moment as they will have paid out substantial sums to the circuit owners but now are receiving no income. It will certainly be a test of the racing clubs’ financial health and stability in terms of what reserves or borrowings they are able to draw upon. As 750 MC are well placed in this regard this will hopefully not be an issue we have to contend with.
As far as ARCA is concerned, the only firm decision we have made so far is that if the 2020 season is cancelled altogether we will either refund the £100 ARCA joining fee or give a credit for the 2021 season, whichever the driver prefers. Other decisions will need to be made in due course as the situation changes.
I gave full details of driver registrations in the last Paddock Bulletin. Since then I am delighted to say that Richard Thurbin has now registered to race his formidable Lancia Delta Integrale with us in the Modified class.
I am grateful also to Keith Waite for sending me the details of his Mazalfa 75 which he hopes to race in the Invitation class. Thanks Keith!