Due to a number of evolving factors we regret to announce that the decision has been made to postpone the 2021 Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo, until February 2022 – exact dates TBC. The decision to postpone is not one that has been taken lightly, but HERO-ERA feel that it is the most sensible option, when considering the ongoing impact of the Corona Virus, as well as taking into account the impact that Brexit will have on movement from the 31st December, in conjunction with the latest French travel restrictions. The safety of all concerned is of paramount importance.
French President Macron is allowing some easing of Covid-19 restrictions from the weekend, but the national lockdown and travel ban remain until 15th December, when, if Covid-19 figures remain in a downward trend, regional travel will be allowed for all French and EU visitors, without the need of an officially signed attestation de déplacement dérogatoire. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has reinstated their all-but-essential travel advice to France. Currently the French borders are closed to all non-EU countries, with the only exceptions for countries that are part of the Schengen Treaty, a fact that President Macron has said will not be reviewed until 20th January 2021. As of the 31st December, the UK will fall into the category of a non-EU country, and as the UK did not sign the Schengen Treaty, the borders to France in the current state of play will be closed until the review.
As well as the borders, France have announced that all Bars, Restaurants & Ski resorts (amongst other things) will remain closed to help prevent the spread of Covid until a review on 20th January. The French government have made it clear that that the current national curfew, together with the ban on public gatherings will also remain in place until at least 20 January.
This makes it difficult for regional authorisations which could also impact on the nature of the event. Other French motorsport is also facing the prospect of delays, with Le Mans already considering a repeat of this year’s September date.
With the latest announcements it has been impossible to complete the final recce until the earliest date of 20th January. Even if all the current plans for easing restrictions go to plan, this, along with the unknown of the Christmas effect on Corona Virus restrictions, both in the UK and on the continent, are adding a huge amount of extra obstructions in our path to deliver an event to the standard HERO-ERA want and the competitors expect. Therefore, we feel that to postpone the event until early February 2022 is our only clear and safe course forward.
This is naturally a huge disappointment for all of us at HERO-ERA, but we are determined to start the new season in a positive fashion, and as such are looking at offering crews a competitive fix in February and are drawing up plans for a competitive one-and-a-half-day event on the 5th/6th February, more details here.