CRESTFALLEN chairman Rob Godfrey insisted the British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) had to take “the sensible decision” to postpone the 2020 season “for at least one month”.
The new British speedway chief delivered an emotive address on the sport’s official Twitter feed after announcing wheels would not turn until April 15 at the earliest due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
The bulk of sporting events have been cancelled or postponed in recent days with the coronavirus taking a grip across Europe and government and world health officials asking people not to gather.
But Godfrey, promoter of Championship club Scunthorpe, remains optimistic that the forthcoming campaign will get going.
BRITISH Speedway’s new season has been suspended with immediate effect.
To be reviewed on April 15.
🎥 BSPA Chairman Rob Godfrey 👇 pic.twitter.com/uvkQzHxCaM
— Official British Speedway (@SpeedwayGB) March 17, 2020
“We have had to make a sad decision, a sad decision because it is the sport we all love, that we are going to have to postpone for at least one month,” said Godfrey.
“Effectively, the season will not start until April 15. There is sadness but there is a virus out there that is affecting our way of life at the minute and we have to heed the government’s advice, do the sensible thing and postpone the season.
“Promoters, riders, supporters, expectations for the season were so high with Jason Crump and Nicki Pedersen coming back.
“The fixture list we had in the Championship was fantastic. This has come out of nowhere and affected everybody’s daily business and everybody’s daily life.
“Unfortunately we have to make a sensible decision.”
On the season eventually getting underway, Godfrey added: “If you look at what has happened in China, the fact they are now back at full production and working with cases very minimal, I am absolutely confident that we will beat this and we will have a British speedway season this year.”
Most riders in the UK get paid by the points they score during meetings, meaning many rely on riding to make a living with a lot of money tied up in equipment.
Worcester-born Ellis Perks, who started out at Worcester Grasstrack Club and won all three domestic titles with Swindon and both of Leicester’s teams in 2019, and Evesham-based Richard Lawson are among those potentially affected.