The 2020 season of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship has now been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. MotorSport New Zealand and the organisers of the championship have taken the decision to cancel the whole season to allow them to future-proof the sport after the pandemic has ended.
Previously they have postponed the first two rounds of the championship at Otago and Whangarei due to government restrictions and after long-time discussions by the promoters, national motorsport agency and the rally organisers, they have come to the agreement that the championship will not resume in 2020, so they can put all focus for the next season as the COVID-19 will cause economic problems this year.
Blair Bartels, the NZRC coordinator for the series, says with all regret to cancel the season and it was a difficult call to make but he hopes it will be stabilised for next year.
“It was a really difficult call to make but one we know is best for the long-term health of our sport,” Bartels, said.
“We love rallying; it is something we are super passionate about and it is really hard to make a call that means there will be less of it this year but we have to be pragmatic through these unprecedented times.”
“The economic fallout will be significant, and it is just not practical to think entry numbers will be strong enough this season to make events sustainable at a national championship level, especially with so many of our competitors being small business owners.“
“There will still be club events and there may be an appetite for a couple of one-off events and that opens up some exciting possibilities.“
Brian Green Property Group who is the title sponsor, has agreed to remain as the official sponsor for next year and by their support, it ensure that the championship will be competative also next season.
“The securing of Brian Green Property Group as title sponsor for an 11th season gives the championship some certainty and we greatly appreciate the unconditional support Brian and his team has shown to the championship and it gives us a strong platform to begin work planning next season.” Bartels, added.
“Covid-19 has had a massive impact on everything globally, including motorsport and sadly the NZRC,” Elton Goonan, MotorSport New Zealand’s General Manager of Motorsport, said.
“Like all sports, we have a responsibility to look out for not only the health and safety of our people, but also the viability and health of the sport itself.”
“We’re confident this is the right decision for the NZRC and we look forward to a strong 2021 Championship. Our sport and our people are resilient and we will come through the other side of this.”
The 2021 New Zealand Rally Championship calendar will be announced later this year.