By Drake Lowthers
JAMES RIVER: Management with the Riverside International Speedway have announced they’re tentatively planning their first Maritime Pro Stock Tour race since the implementation of provincial COVID-19 restrictions.
The organizers of the event, which is scheduled for September 26, are in the midst of finalizing a Guest Management Plan with Nova Scotia’s Public Health Authority – and could see several hundred spectators in attendance.
Late last month, it was announced by government officials the 100-acre facility in Antigonish County was on a shortlist with three other sports venues throughout the province being considered to host gatherings of more than the 250 provincial maximum; with appropriate COVID-19 protocols in place.
“We appreciate this opportunity, and the guidance provided by public health,” Paul McLean the speedway’s general manager said. “We take our responsibility in hosting a larger gathering seriously and thank our fans, racers, and staff in advance for their understanding and cooperation as we work through this.”
The afternoon event will see the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, which is the highest level of stock car racing in Canada, along with at least one other racing series.
“It is our goal to provide a space where folks will feel comfortable with a new normal,” McLean said. “While at the same time enjoying some sense of normalcy from pre-COVID times.”
Representatives with Riverside International Speedway indicate the plan would see less than a 20 per cent maximum capacity, with the grandstand area split into separate zones – each with a maximum of 250 spectators – who will be self-contained with their own entry and exit, washrooms and seating areas.
The infield section will be another zone limited to essential staff and race team members.
In August, the 2020 edition of the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Super Race Weekend, originally scheduled for July 16-18 was postponed to next summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The season’s remaining events were then put on hold, something McLean suggested the Speedway remained hopeful those races could still run in some fashion before the end of this year’s shortened season.
“We look forwards to that time when we can be together again with our Riverside family celebrating our collective resolve to beat this pandemic.”