The start to the 2021/22 race season is not one many would like to see a repeat of, with Covid-19 settings impacting speedway stakeholders nationally.
As we approach mid-November, five tracks in the Speedway family (three in the Auckland region and two in the Waikato region) are currently unable to operate due to Level 3 restrictions.
The announcement from the Government a month ago will see the country transition from the Alert Level framework to The Covid Protection Framework (traffic light), with Auckland scheduled to first make the transition into the red zone early December and the remainder of the current tracking mid-January to what is understood to be the amber zone.
What we know about The Covid Protection Framework so far is that it will require people attending large events and those employed in the events sector to be vaccinated, how far this requirement goes in relation to volunteers or sport is yet unknown.
Detail around how sport and events will be able to operate under the framework is still undetermined, and any assurances from sector guidance is not anticipated until early December.
Questions around the administration of My Vaccine Pass, the serving of food in venues and the management of differing levels under The Covid Protection Framework are instrumental in the running of events, with clarity on these issues still weeks, possibly even months away.
In recent weeks, the Speedway Office has been fielding requests from member tracks around certainty of the championship season, which covers 49 events under the Speedway NZ Allocated Championship settings.
Speedway NZ Allocated Championships are a significant asset of the sport and stakeholders, which require a considerable amount of planning to ensure gains are capitalised to the benefit of competitors, host facilities, regions, and retain prestigiousness that the history books serve.
The Speedway NZ Board considered the following factors impacting the speedway family as follows
The majority of member tracks favoured the postponing of all Speedway NZ Allocated Championships by 12months, for fairness to both competitors and organisers and an overarching desire for certainty – something that is challenging to seek in uncertain times and requested with urgency.
After considerable discussion and deliberation of a wide range of scenarios, the Speedway NZ Board moved to postpone Speedway NZ Allocated Championships for 12months.
What does this mean for the 2021/22 season?
Speedway NZ Allocated Championship Allocations from 2021/22 which includes New Zealand, Grand Prix and Island Championships will move to the 2022/23 season, tracks will continue to operate events, and will transition to The Covid Protection Framework as and when the decisions are made by The Government.
Speedway NZ will continue to work with Motorsport NZ, Motorcycling NZ, Kartsport NZ and NZ Drag Racing on a pathway for motorsport with The Covid Protection Framework with the support of Sport NZ and the NZ Events Association.
Our core focus will be on managing the transition and seeking those all-important answers to questions that are needed to ensure stakeholders are operating to the fullest extent of the prevailing operational constraints.
Current placegetters from last years National titles will be permitted to run their 1/2/3 NZ until the scheduled date of this years championship.
Privately promoted events, including local championships, and series are not impacted by this decision.
What’s different about the 2022/23 season?
We will have a clear path and operational guidelines on managing large events under The Covid Protection Framework, stakeholders will be well rehearsed at operating under the framework.
This is an unprecedented decision, and we ask that stakeholders make the best of the situation by supporting their local tracks and events in the 2021/22 season.
Article added: Tuesday 09 November 2021