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David Emmett

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No news is good news, at least as far as the current outbreak of COVID-19, or the coronavirus is concerned.

And for thirteen days – nearly two whole weeks – we went without a change to the calendars of either the WorldSBK and MotoGP calendars (ironically, that changed this morning).

Given the speed at which the world has changed over the past two weeks, that is almost an eternity in normal time. The same could not be said for other motorsport disciplines. For two weeks, we have been inundated with cancellations and postponements.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused further delay in the WorldSBK calendar. Today, it was announced that the Dutch round of WorldSBK, due to be held at Assen on the weekend of April 19th, has been postponed, and pushed back to August.

The postponement of the Assen round became inevitable on Monday night, after the Dutch government extended its ban on public events until June 1st, and tightened restrictions on travel and gatherings.

The Circuit Of The Americas has laid off a large part of its staff and is suspending activities indefinitely. In an open-ended and ambiguous statement issued on Sunday night, the circuit stated that with large-scale public events canceled, there was little for the circuit to do.

With both the MotoGP race scheduled for April 5th, and the Indycar round scheduled for April 26th postponed until November, there was little for the circuit to do.

The outbreak of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has wreaked havoc on many things: public health, international transport, the global economy, and much more.

But as we are website about motorcycles and motorcycle road racing, we are primarily concerned on the effect it has had on the MotoGP and WorldSBK seasons.

As of Friday, March 13th 2020, Dorna and the FIM had postponed the Buriram, Austin, and Argentina rounds of MotoGP, and the Jerez round of WorldSBK, and were forced to cancel the MotoGP class at the season opener at Qatar.

Things have changed so fast over the past two weeks that it is almost impossible to keep up. As Twitter racing wit SofaRacer put it, “A month ago, the state of Marc Márquez’ shoulder was the big talking point of the season. Halcyon days.”

Since then, a small, contained outbreak of a new flu-like disease has gone from a curiosity in a remote location far from any traditional racetracks to a global pandemic, sweeping through the racing heartlands of Italy and Spain.

In part one of our feature with former WorldSSP300 world champion Ana Carrasco, based on interviews with Carrasco by Israeli journalist and TV commentator Tammy Gorali, Carrasco spoke at some length about how becoming the first female rider to win an individual motorcycle road racing world championship had changed her life, and the effect it had on the wider world, both inside and outside of motorcycle racing.

She discussed at great length with Tammy Gorali about what it means to be a woman racer, and a woman winning a championship.

In the second part of the feature, Ana Carrasco talks about her career as a rider, what her plans are, and what she would like to do in the future.

She discusses her relationship with the team, and the bond she has developed with reigning five-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea.

The novel coronavirus outbreak is touching all forms of motorcycle racing. After MotoGP had to change its calendar twice in the past two days, the WorldSBK series has also had to change its plans. With the Spanish round at Jerez scheduled for the end of the month, that became untenable.

So the Jerez round of WorldSBK has been pushed back to the end of the year, and is due to be held on the weekend of October 25th.

The MotoGP calendar has been changed again due to the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. This time, it is the Argentina round of the series, due to be held in Termas de Rio Hondo on April 19th, which has been postponed.

The race has now been set for November 22nd, the date Valencia was moved to in yesterday’s updated calendar, with Valencia now slated for November 29th.

On July 4th, 1916, Augusta and Adeline Van Buren mounted their Indian Model F motorcycles, and departed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY, to start a journey that would take them 5,500 miles across America to Los Angeles, CA, over dirt roads, rough trails, and more.

Their objective was to prove that women could handle riding a motorcycle over long distances, and as a consequence, were fit to serve their country as motorcycle dispatch riders in the US military.

Two months later, after becoming the first people to reach the top of Pike’s Peak by motorized vehicle, they rolled into Los Angeles to complete their journey, following it up with a quick sojourn to Tijuana, Mexico, having proved their point.

The sisters’ quest went unheeded: although women would serve as dispatch riders in the WRENS, the British Navy, the US military would not employ women motorcyclists until the Second World War.

Women riders have always faced greater hurdles to riding and competing in motorcycle racing than their male counterparts. Beryl Swain became the first woman to race the Isle of Man TT in 1962, which prompted the FIM to ban women from competing, deeming motorcycle racing an unsuitable occupation for a woman.

That ban was later reversed, and riders like Taru Rinne, Tomoko Igata, and Katja Poensgen competed in Grand Prix racing, though their paths were never smooth.