Last week, in my email inbox: “Hey, we’re getting our team ready for the Endurance World Championship series.”
Also last week, in my email inbox: “Hey, we’ve just postponed the Le Mans 24 Hours Moto.”
Sigh. Here we go again.
For casual motorcyclists, the Endurance World Championship isn’t big news, but it’s certainly a major part of Europe’s roadracing scene. It’s not the glamorous, hyped-up world of MotoGP, or even World Superbike, but the factories take it very seriously. In particular, the Suzuka 8-Hour is one of the most prestigious races for the Japanese manufacturers. And now, for the second year in a row, the schedule is a mess, thanks to COVID-19.
The opening round of the 2021 season, the Le Mans 24 Hours Moto, was supposed to run April 17-18. Now, a post on the EWC website says “Following discussions with medical staff and in agreement with the Préfecture of Police, the organizer of the 24 Heures Motos Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the French and international motorcycling federations FIM and FFM and Eurosport Events, the championship’s promoter, have decided to cancel the event.
As a result of the health crisis and of hospitals being under considerable strain, hospitals in Le Mans and is environs are not in a position to provide the service required to ensure the safety of riders and teams during the race.”
Well, that’s not great. According to the post, the organizers are looking at running the race at a later date in 2021. However, we heard that story all last year throughout the race scene; in the end, almost all roadacing was canceled.
EWC organizers face a particularly tough battle, as they typically schedule most of their season around the edges of MotoGP and World Superbike. If they have to postpone more events, that means there’s much less opportunity to jam them in later.
As it stands, even MotoGP and World Superbike have announced pre-season changes to the calendar thanks to COVID-19, and that’s before racing even started … and the pandemic isn’t going away. Expect more revisions, before this year is over.