It’s a question that has been asked countless times. Since the first edition of the Bandimere Speedway World Championship in 2005, we have been wondering how long this motorsport classic will continue. The short answer is that it depends on the organisers and the fates of the circuit’s most recent editions. Let’s take a closer look.
Like the rest of the motorcycle racing world, the organisers of Bandimere Speedway have had to grapple with the impact of COVID-19 on their activities. The series originally had to be cancelled in March 2020 due to travel restrictions, and there have been intermittent issues ever since.
The first race following the restrictions was on April 6th, and as we’ve seen since then, the health concerns posed by the pandemic have not gone away. On May 5th, it was announced the event would go ahead as planned, but with certain safety measures in place. In the first week of June, the series returned to its pre-pandemic format, although the event itself was once again postponed.
At the time of writing, there’s no definite date for the next edition of the championship, although it’s expected the event will happen at some point this year. As for the future of motorcycling in Europe, it seems unlikely we’ll see major events taking place any time soon. Even if the restrictions are lifted, the events that remain will have to take place behind closed doors. This is surely a blow to the sport as well as to the teams, riders, and support staff who’ve invested so much in preparing for the annual pilgrimage to Portugal.
While it’s sad to see the great motorcycle racing tradition come to an end, it’s important not to lose sight of the positive impacts the pandemic has had on the sport. The safety measures put in place helped minimise the risks associated with the virus, and the fact that we’re able to have this conversation is proof enough of that. The organisers of Bandimere Speedway deserve our thanks for going above and beyond to ensure the series continues to happen, and we should all be striving to do the same as we enter this new era.
The Response From The Teams
One of the biggest questions following the cancellation of the 2020 edition of Bandimere Speedway was how the teams would respond. With two thirds of the season already gone, many were already thinking about winding down their campaigns. However, a handful of teams decided to press on with the plan they’d made before the pandemic – to fight for the championship. In particular, Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa expressed their desire to become World Champions as soon as possible, and the Bora Team’s boss, Oliver Bodden, made it clear he was going to do everything in his power to help them achieve their goal.
Bora Team Honda rider Marc Marquez had this to say about the situation: “This year has been amazing. We were all looking at each other wondering what would happen next, but now that we’re at the end we’re very happy. The season turned out better than we expected, and we’re all really pleased that it’s over. A lot of people are still hoping to race at some point this year, but it’s not looking good right now. We’re trying to keep going, but it’s getting more difficult every week.”
He went on to express his gratitude for the work of the teams and organisers of Bandimere Speedway, as well as the safety measures in place that enabled them to still take part in the championship: “I want to thank the people at Bora Team who did an incredible job all year, working round the clock to prepare the bike and make sure we had the right equipment for the road. To my teammates, thanks for giving me a ride, and to the whole world of motorcycling, thanks for giving me this great opportunity.
The response from the teams has been overwhelming; just as the riders stated, it has been a pleasure to be a part of such an historic event, especially given the way it all came together at the end. One year on, many are still talking about the championship, and with good reason. It was one of the best seasons we’ve ever had in terms of quality and quantity, and it’s left its mark on all of us. Hopefully we’ll soon be able to stage an event of this nature again, and this year’s edition will mark the beginning of a new era for Bandimere Speedway.
What will the future of Bandimere Speedway look like? With no idea when the next edition will happen, it’s hard to say. However, given the positive impact the pandemic has had on the sport, one wouldn’t be crazy to think we’ll see motorcycle racing return sooner than expected.
The teams that decided to press on to the end are proof this is possible. They’ve proven it’s possible to run a full season without resorting to any kind of safety measures, and with some intelligent organisation, it can also be possible to stage an event before the end of the year. We cannot wait to see what the next season has in store, and on that front at least, we can be certain the 2019 season will not be forgotten.
Whether we like it or not, COVID-19 was a part of our lives for the whole year. One of the things the pandemic has shown us is the importance of having fun while still following the social distancing guidelines put in place by the government. This may well be the case for the rest of humanity, too. Who knows? Maybe in another year, we’ll all be having fun at the beach, and this whole situation will never even have happened.