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2021/22 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series

Rnd 1 MG Classic meeting (CANCELLED)
Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon
Fri-Sun Nov 12-14 2021

FIRST F5000 SERIES ROUND CANCELLED; STILL NO CLARITY ON WHETHER AUCKLAND COMPETITORS CAN JOIN SERIES, AND WHEN?

When the Wellington-based MG Car Club was forced to cancel this year’s edition of its popular MG Classic motor racing meeting (due to be held at Feilding’s Manfield Circuit Chris Amon over the November 13/14 weekend) it effectively did New Zealand’s Formula 5000 Association a favour.

Like last year, the organising committee of the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series put together another ‘close to home’ calendar for the 2021/22 season, with the opening series round again to be held at the MG Classic meeting.

This year, however, the Government elected to put New Zealand back into Lockdown in mid-August to try and keep a cap on the more infectious Delta strain of the COVID-19 virus.

Auckland became the epicentre of the subsequent outbreak and the nation’s SuperCity has been effectively isolated – thanks to a blanket travel ban - from the rest of the country, for over 8 weeks now.

Though other regions around the country appear to have ‘dodged the Delta bullet,’ and have been operating under a travel-allowed Level 2 Lockdown for much of that time the number of new cases in Auckland passed the 100-per-day milestone on Thursday Oct 2. And with significant ‘leakage’ into both Northland and the Waikato, the last thing Aucklanders were going to get was a reduction in Lockdown level and the opportunity to travel when the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern finally announced the next stage of her Government’s COVID-19 recovery plan last Friday.

In theory, an event organiser (outside Auckland and parts of the Waikato which remain locked in stay-at-home Level 3) can run an event at Level 2. Over Labour weekend, for instance, the KartSport Nelson club ran the 2001 South Island Sprint championship meeting at one end of the South Island while at the other the Southland Sports Car Club ran its annual round of the South Island Endurance Series at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park.

However with the country still effectively split in two by the COVID-19 Lockdown system, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s much-vaunted replacement – based on a red/orange/green ‘traffic light’ graphic - ONLY set to replace the current Lockdown-based system when all District Health Boards across the country have achieved at least a 90% ‘double-shot’ vaccination rate, Aucklanders could well remain stuck at home unable to travel to events until the second week of December at the earliest….

Meaning that the decision by the organisers to cancel this month’s MG Classic was, indeed, the correct one; in that if they hadn’t made it there was every chance the F5000 Association would have had to make the call itself based on the fact that almost half the usual entrants were from Auckland and therefore would have to have sat the meeting out at home.

“As you can appreciate it was not an easy decision for the MG Classic race committee to make,” a spokesperson for the club said last week. “(However) the current on-going uncertainty around COVID-19 and the rules required to be adhered to when running a race meeting all contributed.”

Fortunately the second round of the 2021/22 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is not scheduled to be run until the second last weekend in January next year – though at the moment, says NZ F5000 Association committee member and spokesperson Glenn Richards there are still no guarantees – even that far out!

“The situation is getting worse rather than better and we will certainly need to hit vaccination targets to remove the border between Auckland and the rest of the country," he said on Sunday,

“It’s my guess," Richards continued, “that that will not happen until late December at the earliest. I suspect the government will have to relax restrictions for Christmas but after that they can put them back on if things are going badly.

“We are a long way from finished with this issue even with high vaccination numbers.”

“Obviously this all sounds a bit grim, but as a population we need to grasp that we still have a long way to go, and that vaccination will help but not solve the problem. I hope I’m wrong but that’s how I see it at the moment.”


In saying that Richards acknowledges that once we have finally got on top of the Delta variant of the Coronavirus, there will be ‘plenty of drivers just busting to go out and race,’ so it might be a good idea, he reckons, to look at adding one or two extra, alternative, dates to the 2021/22 in the late summer/early autumn.

The SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Serries is organised and run with the support of sponsors SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide Batteries.

Calendar
Rnd 1: 12-14 Nov 2021 – (CANCELLED) MG Classic meeting, Circuit Manfeild Chris Amon Feilding NZ
Rnd 2: 21-23 Jan 2022 – Taupo Historic Grand Prix - Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park Taupo NZ
Rnd 3: 4-6 Feb 2022 - Skope Classic - Mike Pero Motorsport Park Ruapuna Christchurch NZ
Rnd 4: 26-27 Mar 2022– HRC Legends of Speed meeting Hampton Downs Waikato NZ

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