While Club racing is restarting all over Europe and the US, those events that rely on large club and spectator participation have virtually all been cancelled for 2020.  From Monterey to Goodwood, from Silverstone Classic to le Mans Classic, all have fallen victim to COVID. 

These are the very events that require the most capital investment and huge amounts of forward planning, contract negotiations with all sorts of suppliers, staff recruitment, etc. etc.  While the organisers have put in all the work to stage them, alas, they will see no return on their investments this year.

Two such organisations have asked for help.  The Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who of course relies on activities and events at the Goodwood Estate, including the horse racing, has written to the friends of Goodwood and other interested parties asking that they join the Goodwood Supporters’ Association (GSA), with the joining fees going towards keeping the estate running during these hard time.  “It is my hope that, with the renewal of the GSA, you may consider standing beside us as we weather this storm’”, he wrote.  It seems he was answered by his many friends, as two weeks later, he sent a message of thanks.  “I wanted to convey a heartfelt thank you from both me and the team at Goodwood.  Our loyal Goodwood visitors have been overwhelmingly supportive in getting behind our reinvigorated Goodwood Supporters’ Association (GSA) and while the challenge still prevails, the kindness and support shown by so many of our fans will go a long way to ensuring that the spirit of Goodwood and our unique interpretation of the sport we love will continue.”

In the meantime, he has announced a new initiative, Goodwood Speed Week, for which many of his sponsors, including his main sponsor, Mastercard, have signed up, for an online race meeting (see our news item in the August issue).

Another victim of, in a way, his own success (because his event is so big), is Nick Wigley of Goose Live Events, who had to cancel the Silverstone Classic.  He has set up a crowd funding site to help his small events company through the crisis.  “As a small independent events company passionate about what we do, Goose Live Events has been hugely challenged financially by the need to cancel the Silverstone Classic in 2020.  With 10 months’ work already done by the team in preparation for the Classic prior to its cancellation and costs incurred for an event that isn’t now happening, COVID-19 has set us back by at least 10 years.  We will survive it, but we’d really appreciate your help,” he wrote to friends and competitors.  “Any support you feel able to provide would be hugely appreciated... and in recognition of the fact that our charity partner, Alzheimer’s Research UK, is expecting a drop in support by as much as 45% as a result of COVID-19, we will donate 10% of any funds received in this way to their very important cause.,” he added.  The address for donations is https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/support-the-silverstone-classic.

For those readers who have not followed the story so far,  Nick Wigley and Goose were originally engaged to run the Silverstone Classic on behalf of erstwhile organisers Racing at Silverstone Ltd. (RAS).  With nearly a year of work done, RAS was ready to pull the plug on the whole enterprise, which would have left Wigley facing a large unpaid bill for all the work his team had put in.  The alternative was to take over the event himself, debts and all.  They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Wigley saved the very existence of the Classic, which has gone on to thrive under his stewardship.

Looking on the positive side to 2021, provisional dates for next year’s Silverstone Classic are 30 July–1 August.  As usual, these will remain unconfirmed until the dates for the British Grand Prix are ratified by the FIA, usually at the start of December.

Those events that rely on large club and spectator participation have virtually all been cancelled for 2020 

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > Organisers Fall on Hard Times

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