By Anthony Marcotte Perso – Collaboration with Les Gars de Courses
Dominic Lussier would certainly have liked more clarity as the 2021 racing season approaches on his tracks at Autodrome Granby and RPM Speedway in Quebec. However, health measures being what they are currently in La Belle Province, it is very difficult to predict when competition will resume on our circuits.
Visiting the show Cette Semaine aux Courses on LesGarsdeCourses.com Monday night, the owner of the two tracks was under no illusions. He doesn’t expect us to be back to racing anytime soon, and patience should be called for.
“The disappointment I have is that we had a great schedule all ready to be presented at both RPM and Autodrome Granby. When the government announced that there would be almost no weakening of measures, especially with regarding the curfew (9 :30 pm in almost all regions of Quebec), that takes away many possibilities. ”
Another factor of frustration is the lack of clarity in health measures in each region. It seems that every public health department doesn’t want to take a stance, and that the police are not too keen on getting involved, either. In Drummondville, promoter Yan Bussière was able to hold practices twice last weekend while Lussier cannot do a similar exercise for the moment on his two circuits.
“That’s something that annoys me a bit,” said Lussier. It is very difficult to speak to the Granby police or to the police of Saint-Hyacinthe (whose territory serves the Saint-Marcel region where the RPM Speedway is based) to have clear lines on what we can do, and what we can’t do. I realize that there are activities organized all over the place and since we are not a federated sport, we are all put in the same boat. This is really the aspect that makes me the least comfortable at the moment. ”
Lussier notes that discussions with public health authorities in Quebec are more difficult to have this year, compared to what he experienced last year.
“Yan and I had the opportunity to email our plan to public health. What we are told is that it is not for public health to interpret the decree, nor to make recommendations or approve a plan that we are trying to put in place and that we want to validate. What I feel is that no one wants to commit. That’s when I called in the various police forces, and again, no one is very talkative. At the moment, there is a lot of work that is being done without getting answers. ”
Even so, Dominic Lussier expects to be able to get back on track early or late in the next few weeks or months. Although the 2020 season was imperfect with the absence of spectators for the vast majority of events presented in Quebec, at least the drivers were there. The promoter of RPM Speedway and Autodrome Granby warmly thanked the teams who agreed to pay an increased price at the entrance and accept reduced purses to be able to race in pandemic times.
“For us, for sure, organize race without our normal ecosystem with spectators and corporate income is a lot less interesting. I’m in a good position to know what a racing car costs, and so does Yan. The other side of the coin is well known from the side of the drivers who have to pay more to race and have a little less money. We’ll have yet another summer to adjust. ”
And regarding these adjustments, Lussier proposes different scenarios following discussions with his counterpart in Drummondville. The situation is different this year since Yan Bussière is ready to hold races, which was not the case in May 2020 when major work was being carried out at Autodrome Drummond. For this reason, each promoter will surely have to work together even more.
“We are monitoring the situation from week to week, but I can tell you that after discussions with Yan, if we come to a consensus that we can present two events per weekend, could we decide to separate classes so that each of them can have their share of the pie and run every week? We have 8 or 9 active dirt classes in Quebec, including the touring series, so there is certainly a way to work with that. My message to the teams is that we are aware of the efforts that have been made over the past year and we want to learn from all of this to find the best possible solution. ”
One thing is certain, the businessman does not expect the number of cars to decrease at each of his events. The arrival of DRIVR Academy has injected a new dose of energy into the Sportsman class with the sale of a dozen cars set to debut in 2021. Among active drivers, few have announced their intention to not go to the races this summer.
“I often told racers last year that if I felt the interest was waning as the season progressed, we were going to decrease the pace of our events. This is not what happened with pits more than full in Granby as in Drummond, and I also include Cornwall in Ontario. Despite everything, we have a healthy industry, with a growing number of cars in the majority of classes. I’m really happy with all of this and if we can race at the beginning of July, I’m sure the drivers will be there and we’ll be ready to welcome them with open arms. “