One of the most worrying aspects of the impact of the world-wide coronavirus pandemic on our sport is - what we will be left with once it is all over? We are already hearing stories of people being let go by organisations large and small who are worried about their cashflow in the coming months, and it is a pretty certain that not all those experienced workers will return once it is finally over.
For some organisations the event they had planned would be a highlight of their year, and one they have already ploughed time and money into. One example is Sevenoaks and District Motor Club who have cancelled their ‘Motorsport at the Palace’ event at the end of May on the former race circuit site at Crystal Palace. Extracts from statement shows the impact on the club, and those in a similar position:
‘Sevenoaks and District Motor Club have very reluctantly had no choice but to cancel the Motorsport at the Palace weekend for 2020. This is a devastating decision by the club, as a considerable financial commitment has already taken place….. The club will now carry out a financial review to minimise the loss of revenue against the considerable expense already incurred.
“I would like to sincerely thank all the many people and competitors who were going to make this year something very special indeed, and we hope this is not the end of Motorsport at the Palace,” said event co-ordinator Karen Webber, “we will now begin the enormous task of informing everybody and reimbursing entry fees and ticket sales.”
In Australia Historic Winton has been cancelled (in fact it is easier now to assume that any event will no longer happen…) and include a plea in their statement for visitors to if possible honour the booking of any accommodation later in the year in order to support a suffering local community hit hard by recent events.
In most cases organisers are offering refunds to spectators and race entrants, with the optimists offering to honour all tickets and entries once whatever normality we end up in resumes. Right now the impact of what is happening can only be guessed at - and let us not forget that against a backdrop of a potentially lethal and fast-spreading global virus the woes of historic motorsport are insignificant - but each job loss or company closing is a personal tragedy with financial implications for companies and individuals.
While major players such as Goodwood should have the financial resources to see out any lengthy hiatus, many other organisers, venues, preparers and race teams have a far more hand to mouth existence, and may need all the support we can all offer in the next few months.