Motorcycle racing shutdown is ‘catastrophic’

While teams and riders understand the reasons for the shutdown of motorcycle racing, it doesn't change the fact 2020 could be a huge challenge for the sport

Gary Johnson - RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki

Riders and teams have continued reacting to the disappointing – albeit unsurprising – news that motorcycle racing will remain on an indefinite pause amid the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Following the Isle of Man TT’s cancellation on Monday, the North West 200 was also postponed on Tuesday, while the British Superbike Championship is now suspended until May at the earliest though many are bracing for the hiatus to go on for longer.

While it comes amidst an almost universal shutdown of motorsport activity around the world, the announcements remain ‘catastrophic’ for teams, many of which were planning to compete in all three.

Among these is the Lee Hardy Racing team – better known as RAF Regular & Reserves – which had only last week announced Paul Jordan would ride for the team at the TT and the North West 200, as well as run Ryan Vickers in BSB.

While BSB is expected to go ahead in some capacity later this year, team owner Lee Hardy expressed his frustration at the TT cancellation, saying the force majeure doesn’t limit the huge challenges it will now face in 2020 on several fronts.

“[On Monday] we received the information from the Isle of Man Government that this year’s Isle of Man TT Races has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Thisis completely out of anyone’s control and we need to think about people’s welfare and act on what the Government recommends to try and control the spread.

“In all my years of road racing I have never been part of a situation like this before, it is such a shame when you have built your race bikes and as a team you have planned and made all the preparations ready to go to these events. Preparations pretty much start once the chequered flag drops on the Senior race so it’s such a shame when everyone has put so much hard work and dedication in.

“These events are more than a race meeting; the heritage that goes along with the TT and North West 200, which was cancelled today (Tuesday), is second to none and missing events like these are catastrophic when your rider has trained all winter to take part in the largest motorcycle events of his career.

“It makes my job as a team manager very hard to keep him motivated now through the year but I will stand by Paul and I will make sure he has a seat within the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team for 2021. I will also get him out at BSB meetings within the Pirelli Superstock 1000 Championship and keep him as sharp as possible throughout the season.

“It’s just a case of sitting tight now and waiting. We can only keep our fingers crossed that the BSB season goes ahead and gives us all the racing fix we need.

“Thank you to all of the teams’ sponsors that have helped with the preparations for these events and thank you to all the teams’ partners that have put endless hours in to delivering some amazing bikes.”