Putting aside at times needless low positivity, certain comments that don’t help the sport and of course the on-going Covid-19 pandemic (It had to be mentioned), it’s been in my opinion a much more prominent first six months for the bulk of pure road racers overall in comparison to last year. Thus far during 2021, three road races worldwide have taken place the Burt Munro Challenge incorporated Invercargill Street Races in New Zealand that featured standout performances from Tony Rees, the inaugural Cain Road Race Durango edition and the Spring Cup at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough. In spite of delays, mixed weather, a full 22 plus race schedule still took place including the feature Bob Smith Spring Cup race, won for the second time by Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison. We’ve also alongside the prior mentioned events the Cliffhanger Hill Climb and the opening European Hill Championship round at Passo Dello Spino in Italy which proved tumultuous for Senior Classic TT podium finisher, North West 200 winner Stefano Bonetti. Alongside the road races, hill climbs, national, Irish, International road-race stars have also enjoyed countless opportunities to gain track time at club meetings, Endurance races, Super Moto races. Top level National Championships, various pre-season tests and prestigious events such as the Daytona 200 and Andalucia Rally. Things are also looking up for prospective 2021 IRRC pilots, with Europe’s top premier roads series set to return next month at Circuit De Chimay, Belgium. Added nuggets of good news for roads fans recently include the confirmed live coverage for next year’s TT Races, confirmation that the Aberdare Park Road Races will take place in August. The likes of Davey Todd, Joe Thompson, Darryl Tweed, Paul Jordan, Michael Browne all confirmed for Armoy and up coming events at Kopcany, Dymokury, Cookstown, Horice, Hengelo, Frohburg. Yes I know some may state now I’m been blatantly optimistic and that there is lots that could happen alongside early cancellations of the TT Races, North West 200, Imatranajo, the majority of Irish Road Races to not make 2021 a success from a pure road racing perspective. I understand the circumspect nature and in particular get the vibes of cautious optimism given the recent news from Scarborough that the Barry Sheene Classic and Oliver’s Mount Festival won’t take place. I should point out though that the reasons behind these event cancellations were not due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A statement issued by organisers candidly revealed the reasons why: “Scarborough Borough Council have recently conducted detailed inspections of their entire estate, including Oliver’s Mount. Their surveyors have found several serious issues with many of the aged buildings at Oliver’s Mount that make it unsafe to hold meetings at the venue at the current time. The safety of the public, competitors, officials and staff must always come first. Several meetings have been held with Oliver’s Mount Racing, 243 Road Racing Association, Scarborough Borough Council and the ACU to explore all possible options to run the meetings planned for 2021 in a safe manner. Despite all possible efforts, it has become obvious that the meetings cannot be run in a safe manner with the buildings in their current state, and the mutual decision was taken today to cancel The Barry Sheene Classic Meeting on 26 / 27 June and The Oliver’s Mount Festival on 31 July / 1 August. We will look to rearrange the bike hill climb planned for 17/18 July to a date to be advised in September and we expect the GB Supermoto weekend of 28/29 August and the car hill climb planned for 30 August to go ahead as planned.” Returning to a positive out look which is important to maintain, it was good to read amongst the unfortunate update that the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup will now not clash with the Cookstown 100. The Gold Cup meeting is now due to take place from the 18th-19th September. Hopefully all goes to plan and racing returns in style to England’s only real roads circuit. I echo this notion as well towards Armoy, IRRC rounds and any road race due to run in the remainder of this year. All that’s left to say is roll on the rest of the 2021 racing season with capacity crowds! and hopefully people with bigger authority than me can give more support to roads events, organisers during these still very difficult times. Photo credit: Michael Wincott, Gary Howlett Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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