Schedules in racing are usually about as reliable and fluid as political promises, at least up until the season actually starts.
The World Superbike series has been worse than most in recent years; in 2013 the proposed Indian round was cancelled, while this year the Moscow round – held for the first time in 2012 and with a contract through 2020 – has been axed from its September 21 date.
The Indian situation was complex, in large part based on the country’s unwieldy bureaucracy and the costs (bribes?) of getting the series in and out of the country. Rules said the bikes and equipment had to be “imported” and duty paid, which needless to say wasn’t going to happen, particularly with the dangers of your entire investment being tied up for who-knows-how-long during the wrangling.
The Russian cancellation is a bit simpler, as anyone who’s read a news report out of Ukraine in the last month or two will know. The political situation is a bit fluid, to say the least, both on the ground and internationally, as many Western nations are campaigning for severe sanctions against the Russian government’s take-over of Crimea and gun-slinger attitude toward the Ukraine government.
The race promoters said that, “the current political situation affects the capabilities of a number of key partner companies essential to run the event. Parties regret the decision, but are confident that the strong partnership between DWO and YMS Promotion will prevail” – meaning that everyone hopes things will be back to normal by 2015. Apparently one of the key worries is that the main route for transporters would go through Ukraine, and therefore through the area of highest political tensions.
In the meantime, the WSB organizers still have a big TBA on their final planned date for 2014, November 2. Pretty tough on the entrants, who have big enough logistical problems without having things dancing around loose in the middle of the season.
F1 skipped the Indian GP this year, too, for the same reason as WSBK: India currently treats racing as entertainment rather than as sport, which puts it in a completely different tax classification. While sport is exempt from the import-duty debacle, entertainment is not. One can only hope that India puts its house in order so that both series can return.
Hopefully F1 does the same and skips the Russian race this year!!!