I am coming to the end of my third and final year studying at Reading and one of the highlights of my time here has been the Reading University Motorsports Society. Despite being a relatively new society, Motorsports has maintained a group of petrolheads every year. TeamSport Karting is a regular destination for the society, with members enjoying friendly but competitive races in a variety of formats from 15-minute time attacks to 50 lap endurance races, sometimes coupled with a trip to Wednesday or Saturday Union afterwards. The society has also entered more formal competition in the British University Karting Championship (BUKC), featuring outdoor tracks and karts hitting speeds of 70 mph. There have been meet-ups to watch Formula 1 races, alongside a fantasy teams’ competition. It’s been great, fast fun and I definitely recommend joining for anyone looking for a new society next year.
In the motorsport world beyond the university, the coronavirus is causing havoc with the schedules of world championships in all disciplines. Formula 1 immediately cancelled the Chinese Grand Prix but the opening race of the season in Melbourne, Australia was still set to go ahead until it was abruptly cancelled the day before racing was supposed to commence. After a number of postponements and cancellations, the season was put on indefinite hiatus, with the latest comment from F1 that their ‘intention is to start the 2020 season at some point this summer.’ In contrast, electric car series Formula E managed to complete the first five rounds of the season as it began earlier. However, they have now postponed races in Rome, Paris, Seoul and Jakarta until further notice, with a goal of resuming racing at the Berlin ePrix in June.
Two wheeled championships can’t escape disruption either, with MotoGP holding the opening race of the season with only the support classes Moto2 and Moto3 racing, as a significant number of MotoGP teams and riders had been unable to enter Qatar from Italy. The calendar has been shuffled with round two in Thailand moved to October and races in Spain, France and Italy indefinitely postponed. Similarly, after completing round one at Phillip Island in Australia, World Superbikes have indefinitely postponed the Qatar Grand Prix and reorganised the entire calendar, currently intending to resume racing in Britain at the start of July.
During the lockdown racers and riders have been keeping themselves and fans entertained by competing against each other in virtual racing using simulation video games. This coincided with increasing support for eSports from series organisers such as Dorna, who run MotoGP and World Superbikes.
Let’s hope that the world can soon return to health and worrying about frivolous concepts such as championship standings and lap times rather than the consequences of global pandemic.