After originally looking at a Saturday, May 16th launch, the coronavirus pandemic forced track staff to postpone the first half of the season. Social distancing protocol and policies legislated by officials sidelined racing at the Mount Pleasant Road facility until permission is granted and events are in a holding pattern until further notice. Track owner and promoter J.P. Josiasse says that while the decision is regrettable, its one that has to be made for the good of the sport.
“While adhering to the strict guidelines put in place by the provincial government, we’ve been able to make the facility available for test sessions, but everything else is on hold,” Josiasse said. “Some facilities that have elected to stage events without fans in attendance, but we’re not going to follow that trend. We owe it to our loyal supporters and sponsors to stick with our original plan. Peterborough Speedway won’t be racing this year without being open the gates to everyone, just like we’ve done for the last 53 years.”
While spectator sports recently received the approval to begin under the 3rd stage of the provincial reopening process, crowd size is limited to a maximum of 100 fans which still isn’t a viable option when it comes to kicking-off the season. Josiasse says he and other promoters will continue to lobby the province to increase the size of allowable gatherings, with the main focus on the safety of spectators, fans and staff.
Even without a green flag in the track’s imminent future, the crew at Peterborough Speedway looks to continue its track rentals for testing every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Sessions – with no spectators in attendance – run between 11:00 and 4:00 each day. Participants are required to pre-register and provide answers to a COVID-19 screening questionnaire.
“We have some drivers who’ve updated their equipment from last season and some first time runners too,” said J.P. Josiasse. “We need to do whatever we can to give them some seat time so they can come-up with a fresh set of notes to start the year. Putting the machines through their paces now can help find issues that could be a problem once we finally get the season underway.”
Bullring bullet points: Track sponsorship partner The Old Smoke House Catering is offering convenient weekly family food orders, with a wide variety of main course and dessert items and packages to meet any budget. Orders are available with curbside pick-up at the Old Smoke House Catering in Ennismore. See www.oldsmokehouse.ca or call 705.292.0560 for more information and ordering details.
For the latest news and updates on the 2020 schedule, visit www.peterboroughspeedway.com or see the track’s Facebook and Twitter social media platforms.
Prepared by Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media