“New safety measures in place when the MXGP returns”
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has influenced significantly the activities of all the FIM Commissions. In the “Commissions Update” series Commission Directors will tell how they have modified their working methods during these extraordinary times and how they foresee the future. In this first article the Director of the FIM Motocross Commission (CMS), Antonio Alia Portela explains how the CMS has been able to overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic.
Despite the fact that all the FIM events have been on hold the CMS and its Director Antonio Alia Portela have had a busy summer.
"We, at the CMS, have not had a moment rest as we have been paving the way for the times to come and yet the 2020 FIM MXGP and MX2 World Championships are ready to resume this weekend with a lot of new safety measures in place in order to comply with governments’ COVID-19 regulations", Alia Portela explains.
The hardest part of the year for the CMS has been to face the impact of the Coronavirus on the CMS World Championships: the FIM Sidecar Motocross WC, the FIM Junior Motocross WC , part of the FIM SuperMoto WC events, as well as the FIM Motocross of Nations and the FIM SuperMoto of Nations, have all been cancelled.
"Some MXGPs have either been cancelled or their dates have been changed or postponed to 2021. Everything has been done in constant communication with our partners and promoters of the WCs."
There have been also new challenges on the logistical side.
"These cancellations have led to a large number of the CMS members having to deal with air companies in order to get their flights refunded; an exhausting task as air companies had set up an automatic response system with no other alternative."
In the end the Commission has been able to find solutions to officiate at the events despite the challenges.
"On the very positive side, solutions have been found to deal with the situation."
When the 2020 AMA Supercross FIM World Championship was forced to stop after ten rounds, Feld Motorsport found a solution to hold the rest of the seven remaining events in one single venue, Salt Lake City, under strict access measures to the stadium with no public. Even with the travelling restrictions in place, the CMS has been present and officiated these events from home via Zoom.
The pandemic has also forced the CMS to come up with new ideas for the future.
"The constant adaptation to this new situation poses a challenge to the Motocross Commission. Therefore, we are preparing new material to be used in the future seminars online if need calls for it, and learning how to use the new tools to make the most of it.
"We have also seen the launch of the two videos which were prepared during the 2019 season in cooperation with Infront Moto Racing. The first one explains the Administrative and Technical Verifications during an MXGP WC event; the second one features no other than MX2 2019 World Champion, Jorge Prado, explaining and advising on the Safety Protection Equipment MX riders use." (Videos can be found HERE.)
Alia Portela is also pleased with the flexibility and co-operation of different parties.
"This year we have seen that our partners and promoters of the different WCs have done their best to try to keep a calendar by adjusting venues and protocols to safeguard the World Championships. Although not all of them have been successful, we have to be thankful for their efforts and commitment. The CMS and the national federations remain involved in the future events and will be there to make these Championships a reality."
Despite a challenging year Alia Portela foresees the next year with positive mind.
"Although COVID19 is still looming on the horizon, next year looks promising as most of the organisers are really looking forward to start the 2021 season, restrictions permitting, and also there is the strong will of our partners and promoters who have a flexible way of scheduling events so that the sport we love so much will surge stronger than before", he says.
The FIM Motocross World Championship makes its much awaited return following a five-month break when Kegums Latvia will host the first of three events 8-9th of August.