Despite a great start to the 2021 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship, the administrative body for the sport – the Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association [AFJSA] – has made the difficult decision to postpone the remainder of the 2021 calendar until early 2022.
Ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns, with speculation that some state borders would remain closed until early 2022, together with the logistics of organising events in advance, has left the AFJSA with no other choice than to defer, rather than cancel the 2021 season.
“In reality, there’s no reason why we can’t extend the 2021 calendar into 2022,” AFJSA spokesman Justin Roylance explained. “We’re in unprecedented times where there is no real certainty about when or if we can carry on this year, and whilst traditionally we would complete a season within a single calendar year, that’s just not possible this year.
“This isn’t a decision that has been made lightly, or without a great deal of consultation with various stakeholders, including State Governments who have provided us some background to allow us to make this decision, so to save ongoing angst and to give teams time to prepare for our return, we have elected to postpone the remainder of this year’s schedule.”
With the remainder of the 2021 program pushed into the new year, Roylance confirmed that it was still too early to lock away firm dates for a racing return, however he did slate the AFJSA’s Annual General Meeting in early November as a time to provide a clearer picture of what both the 2021 and 2022 seasons would look like.
“There’s a lot to take into account, especially over the early part of the new year with school holidays, ongoing border closures and other commitments that take precedence at the start of every calendar year, but we have options and we have Clubs that are flexible to allow us to work on developing a calendar for our racing return.
“Having said that, at this stage it looks like we may finish the 2021 season across February and March, then look at what the 2022 season might look like, with venues providing ‘flexible’ dates that will allow us to work around any snap lockdowns that may intrude into next season.”
Whilst dates will remain flexible to ensure the conclusion of a 2022 program, the AFJSA is also investigating ‘double-header’ events that may see back-to-back rounds completed across two-day events at some venues next year.
“There will be a number of things to discuss at this year’s AGM to ensure that moving forwards we can complete a season of competition, even if there are setbacks to the calendar,” Roylance confirmed.
“At the end of the day, we all want to go racing, and avoid having to forgo a championship part way through.. It would be nice to think that the increased vaccination rates would allow us the freedoms to return to some level of normality, but I think the last 12 months has shown us that anything can happen and that this pandemic has thrown a lot of curveballs, so we will need a backup plan in case this continues into next season.”