Despite vaccine rollouts and loosening COVID-19 guidelines, international motorcycle racing has still contended with travel restrictions in 2021. MotoGP alone canceled six appearances in Asia, Oceania, and South America this season, and the FIM Endurance World Championship faced its own scheduling woes due to the pandemic. Now, after months of delays and cancellations, the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) is calling off its 2021 season.
Consisting of Asia Superbike 1000, Supersport 600, Asia Production 250, and Underbone 150 race series, ARRC’s full race program has been on hold since June, 2021. The six-round calendar was scheduled to kick off with two rounds at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit on June 4-5 and June 11-12, 2021. The teams were then supposed to travel to China’s Zhuhai International Circuit from July 30-August 1, 2021, before moving on to Australia’s Bend Motorsport Park for the September 23-26, 2021, race weekend.
“Restrictions among the Asian countries are more stringent as compared to the other regions like Europe,” noted Two Wheels Motor Racing Director Ron Hogg. “Bringing the grid together will be a very costly affair, especially with the required quarantine procedures when teams return home to their respective countries.”
Unfortunately, the first Malaysian rounds were delayed (indefinitely) due to COVID while ARRC outright canceled the Chinese and Australian races in the face of travel restrictions. With four rounds off the books, it didn’t make sense to move forward with the final two rounds hosted at Thailand’s Chang International Circuit on November 19-21 and November 26-28, 2021. Now that race organizers have canceled the unsalvageable 2021 season, they can focus on the 2022 calendar ahead.
“The FIM Asia supports the decision of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship to call off the 2021 season,” stated FIM Asia President Stephan Carapiet. “I am just as disappointed as everyone else about this inevitable decision. However, let’s look forward to a great year in 2022.”