Opening 2020 BSB rounds to be held behind closed doors

The 2020 BSB Championship will run behind closed doors initially after it was forced to change its initial guidelines allowing spectators to attend

Keith Farmer - Buildbase Suzuki [credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]

The initial rounds of the rescheduled 2020 British Superbike Championship are to go ahead without spectators despite an earlier indication that a limited number will be permitted to attend.

The 2020 BSB season kicks off this weekend, several months after it was originally due to go ahead, with Donington Park hosting the first of six triple-header events that will comprise the 2020 schedule.

However, while series organisers MSVR had originally planned to sell tickets to a limited number of spectators, consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport means this has been reversed.

The decision affects the rounds due to take place in August, including Round 1 at Donington Park, plus Round 2 at Snetterton on August 21-23.

MSVR says it had interpreted the guidance from the DCMS as to allow spectators due to the nature of motorsport’s structure, namely its wide-open spaces and the use of personal transport to reach events.

However, this view changed after consultation with DCMS, which stipulated national motorsport – BSB and the British Touring Car Championship – does in fact fall under the Elite Sport guidance, which was drawn up primarily to avoid big crowds in confined spaces, such as football and rugby matches.

“In line with the wording of Elite Sport guidance, we have not considered these events to be Elite Sport, with the guidance focussed towards sports such as Premier League football and Rugby League, which tends to attract huge crowds, mostly in stadiums, and typically rely on public transport,” reads a statement from MSV.

“By contrast, circuit venues are by their very nature wide-open spaces like parks, with ample room to enable social distancing across dozens of spectator viewing areas. To be clear, the decision not to allow spectators at Bennetts BSB events has nothing to do with MSV's comprehensive Covid-Secure procedures for keeping our customers and staff safe.

“We hope that we will be able to welcome spectators back to these events soon, and will maintain a dialogue with DCMS and our local authorities to pursue that agenda, always with public health as a priority. We will provide further updates on Bennetts BSB events beyond August in due course.

“We understand that this news will be hugely disappointing and difficult to understand, and we are so sorry for the inconvenience this will cause. We were really looking forward to welcoming fans to these events and have worked extremely hard to provide a totally safe environment, liaising closely with local partners, so this development is very frustrating for the entire team at MSV.”

It is hoped BSB will be able to welcome spectators from September onwards, while those that did purchase tickets will be informed today of how to receive their refund.