One of the biggest motorcycle rallies in eastern Canada has been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Wharf Rat Rally has been cancelled—or at least, that’s what the rally’s Facebook page seems to say.
Officially, the post says the event has been “postponed” for 2020, and they’re “temporarily putting the brakes” on the September 2-6 event. But the rest of the language seems to indicate it’s not just postponed until a later date, it’s cancelled for this year. At least, the majority of events are; organizers seem interested in running an online 5-/50 draw and maybe selling some merchandise. Here’s what the post actually said:
“The Wharf Rat Rally has been postponed for 2020. With the Covid-19 restrictions prompting the cancellation of all major events and large gatherings, the Wharf Rat Rally Board of Directors are announcing they are temporarily putting the brakes on the famous rally scheduled for September 2nd – 6th, 2020.
“It will be strange not to see the town filled with crowds and motorcycles on the Labour Day weekend for the first time in 16 years”, says Rickey Stewart, Chair of the Board. “However, we are looking at these challenging times as time to refresh, develop, re-envision the event and come back stronger in 2021”.
Organizers are presently working to keep some popular activities activated for 2020, such as an online 50/50 draw, new merchandise with an image commemorating 2020 and honouring the Nova Scotia Strong messaging that has become part of the Province’s healing for the past several months. Any other activities rolled out by the Wharf Rat Rally organizers will adhere to the health regulations set by the Province and the Town of Digby to ensure the health and safety of the community.”
Daytona Bike Week, the first major motorcycle rally of the North American riding season (and a destination for many Canadian riders) saw many of its events cancelled in late March, as Florida’s COVID-19 outbreak began roughly around the same time. Some Canadian racers who’d travelled down for the Daytona 200 and other events were forced to return home without getting their time on track.
Since then, other major US rallies have had to change their plans; Laconia and Americade both postponed their gatherings until later in the summer. Sturgis hasn’t announced any plan changes yet. However, at this point, since Daytona, there’s been no flat-out cancellations for major rallies.
For years, the Wharf Rat rally has been the biggest bike gathering in Nova Scotia, and one of the biggest in all of eastern Canada, attracting riders from Ontario, Quebec and the US. It traditionally runs on the Labour Day weekend, in the town of Digby and the surrounding area.