It’s been a strange news week.
On Wednesday came the announcement that the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portugal had been cancelled. Considered one of the ‘world championships’ of kart racing, the event was scheduled to take place from January 23rd to 30th. Portugal has experienced a record-breaking surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases since the Christmas holiday. The small European nation of 10 million recorded 10,566 new virus cases, prompting a month-long lockdown of the entire country. Racing will have to wait.
On the weekend, the province of Quebec enacted an 8:00 pm curfew. At this time of year, there really isn’t much motorsports in Quebec. Entertainment facilities where large groups would normally gather, including indoor karting tracks, have already been shut down. But now, motorheads can’t even drive their trusty Subaru around town to pass the time. For context, Quebec has a population of 8.5 million residents, and reported 2,132 new cases on Wednesday.
Ontario’s 14.5 million residents were given a stay-at-home order by the Government on Tuesday, and the province reported 2,998 new virus cases today. Those of us living in Toronto can still drive our cars whenever we choose, although all motorsports are shut down by order of the province. Canadians interested in racing will have to go a little further south if they want to compete.
Florida has a population of 21.5 million (a little less than Ontario and Quebec combined) and the state reported 13,720 new cases of the virus on Thursday. That was also the opening day of the 2021 Florida Winter Tour!
The first round of the kart racing series runs from January 14th to 17th in Pompano Beach, Florida, continues in February on a temporary circuit in St. Petersburg, and concludes in March at Ocala Gran Prix in Ocana, Florida. 16 Canadians are racing this weekend, including New Speed Motorsports teammates Anthony Simone in VLR Masters and Rocco Simone in Micro ROK. Canadian teams who’ve made it across the border include Ben Cooper Racing, PSL Karting and REM – Racing Edge Motorsports. The other significant Canadian team competing is Goodwood Kartways! In addition to the father-son duo of Anthony and Rocco Simone, Canadian racers from the ‘home team’ include Jordan Di Leo and Cayden Goodridge.
There really is no consistent logic or reason to how provinces, states or countries decide when it’s OK to be open, or when a complete shutdown is required. From the complete lockdown in Portugal to the racing this weekend in the USA, these are confusing times.