America gets back to racing
The models being used by both championships will be very different. Supercross will have seven races over the course of the next three weeks whereas MotoAmerica will return behind closed doors before spectators return for round two next month.
Social distancing and temperature screening are the buzz words of both paddocks and in Supercross journalists are expected to stay in Salt Lake City until the end of the season. The series expects 900 people to be involved in its return and the goal is to get the season finished as safely, and as soon, as possible. With the outdoor motocross season around the corner the clock is ticking for Supercross to get their season concluded and crown a champion.
Rider safety briefings and press conferences will take place using zoom conferences and the time allocated for a rider to get on their bike will be closely managed. In NASCAR this involved drivers self isolating from their team until the last possible moment before making their way into the cars. A similar procedure could be implemented in motorcycle racing.
In MotoAmerica the time frame is not as critical so their pace of return is much more deliberate. This weekend will see the return of the series at Road America and the vast circuit in Wisconsin was chosen because it will allow for the maximum amount of social distancing. The paddock will be under strict instructions for how to manage the weekend with temperate screening being used on all personnel.
This follows the same model that has been used by NASCAR. The stock car series allocated times for each team to arrive on site so that checks could be concluded as safely as possible. In MotoAmerica there will be similar procedures in place with additional testing being carried out daily on corner marshals. The championship expects 1,000 workers to be onsite across the circuit staff and team personnel.
MotoAmerica has taken lots of care to develop plans for how to allow for social distancing when racing gets underway. There won’t be a normal grid filled with mechanics and hangers on. Instead they’ll use a system similar to the quick restart procedure. Riders will leave the paddock and make the way to the grid to be met by a single mechanic to check the bike and then be waved on for their official sighting lap. Afterwards you can expect a socially distant Parc Ferme and podium.
From Round 2 MotoAmerica plans to have fans back at the circuit. With almost a month until their next outing there’ll be time to think of the safety protocols but for the rest of the world it will allow them to use the American series as a proving ground for how to return to normality.
With MotoGP having announced the cancellation of their British and Australian rounds and WorldSBK confirming they are oncourse for a return to action in late July the eyes of the racing world will be on the United States. Finding a workable solution for a return to racing is crucial. When MotoAmerica announced their return to action Wayne Rainey said it was “important to give hope to people.” The return of Supercross and MotoAmerica will certainly give hope to all series that their return isn’t too far away.