The Race Leadership Team (RLT) has confirmed a start date for the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing. As such, Ironman Raceway, located in Crawfordsville, Indiana, will serve as the host venue of the opening round, which will take place on Saturday, July 18th. Based on the latest statewide policies surrounding sporting events in Indiana, the Ironman National will also take place in front of fans, per information provided in the recent “Back on Track” plan issued by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.
Over the course of the last few weeks, state governments have announced state-by-state phase-in plans for the resumption of large gatherings, including professional motorsports events. Some states have taken a very restrictive approach to large gatherings (e.g., Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New York), while others have found a more lenient approach acceptable, so long as social distancing guidelines are followed (e.g., Indiana, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, etc.). These varying state approaches have created unique challenges for the 2020 Pro Motocross Championship, as several of the preeminent venues are situated in restrictive states that may or may not permit large gatherings during the time frame currently planned for the series.
On May 4th, the RLT announced that the series was tentatively set to be held from July 4th through October 3rd. This would leave only 13 days between the end of supercross and the start of motocross. As many states continue to roll out their phase-in plans, it became clear that a further delay in the start of the season would be the most advantageous for the riders, teams, and the events themselves. The farther the series could push back into the summer, the better for all. However, with July 18th serving as a live NBC broadcast date, and television coverage being paramount for series and team sponsors, this has become a hard start date for the 2020 championship.
The RLT has taken careful consideration into determining what the 2020 Pro Motocross schedule will look like, continuously monitoring how each respective state continues to move forward to reopening the economy, on a local, countywide, and statewide level. Active communication with local health and government officials is ongoing, ensuring that scheduled events can take place in compliance with social distancing guidelines. As part of this effort, the RLT has also announced that pit access at the Pro Motocross Championship this summer will be limited to credentialed personnel only.
While the opening round of the season has been the only confirmed event as of today, the RLT is diligently working towards compiling a national championship schedule by closely monitoring the reopening plans for each respective state on the initial Pro Motocross calendar, while event organizers continue to communicate with their respective local officials. Announcements pertaining to the confirmation of additional rounds will come in phases, as more dates and venues are determined and solidified. Additional communication will be made in association with this progress, as needed.
For three weeks, the RLT has had the opportunity to put social distancing measures into practice at live events, as both the Grand National Cross Country Racing Series (GNCC)and the ATV Motocross Championship (ATVMX) have successfully resumed its paused seasons. Much like Pro Motocross, these events have been executed by working closely with local officials, and thus far a pair of GNCC rounds and an ATVMX round have commenced without issue.
Moreover, the RLT recently announced the schedule regarding qualifying procedures for the 2020 AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s. Beginning this weekend, a series of youth, amateur, and vet regionals will be held around the country through the July 4th weekend.
The RLT, in conjunction with the Safe-to-Race Task Force, has placed the health, safety and well being of participants, event personnel, and spectators at the forefront of a return to racing. In complying with CDC guidelines and utilizing the recently issued Race Resumption Plan & Best Practices Tool Kit, off-road motorcycle events of all kinds can and have resumed in a safe and effective manner.
Words: Press Release | Lead Image Photo Credit: Simon Cudby