Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown means no NaZCAR ProSeries final at Pukekohe this Saturday

New Zealand’s latest Level 4 COVID-19 Coronavirus Lockdown has seen the organiser of the new NaZCAR 3 and 6-Hr Pro Series, Dr Jacob Simonsen, forced to call off the final round which was to have been held at Pukekohe Park Raceway this Saturday, September 04.

The week after the second round of the popular new ‘everyman’s endurance motor racing series’ on Saturday August 14, Dr Simonsen said that he was ‘loath to make any hard and fast decisions on what we do about our final until closer to the time.’

That, of course, was before Prime Minister Jacinda Adern plunged the country back into a full Level 4 lockdown on August 18 for ‘at least two weeks’ then on August 30 stated that the SuperCity which includes Pukekohe within its boundaries, would remain under Level 4 until ‘at least’ Tuesday September 14.

Had we not been dealing with the considerably more virulent Delta strain of the COVID-19 Coronavirus there might well have been the opportunity for the September 04 series’ final to go ahead.

“It was a faint hope,” Dr Simonsen said this morning,” but my attitude, particularly in times like these, is that faint hope is better than no hope.”

As it is the final round of the Pro Series is postponed for now, with Pukekohe Park management already offering Dr Simonsen an alternative date in early October.

Between now and then however, he faces an even greater conundrum, what to do about his signature event, the 2021 NaZCAR Lemons continuous 24 Hour race due to run at Hampton Downs on Friday Sept 24 and Saturday September 25.

Given that the Hampton Downs circuit in the northern Waikato is not within the boundary of the Auckland SuperCity and dropped with the rest of the country (bar Northland and Auckland) to Level 3 on Wednesday this week it is not too great a stretch to imagine the track back ‘open for business’ under Level 2 in another fortnight’s time.

What is harder to foresee is the time when it is deemed safe for the greater Auckland area to drop back down to Level 2 so that the majority of the 500+ drivers who have already entered the much anticipated event can actually, legally leave their Supercity-based family bubbles and make their way to Hampton Downs to compete.

“That’s certainly the $64,000 question, right now, “ Dr Simonsen said last night. “I know that right now we’re still getting new infections each day but who’s to say that the numbers are not down to single digits by next week and zero the week after?

“Hampton Downs have be really good about this event too, already offering us a couple of different date options.

“However, as of right now I’d still like to see the 24 Hour race go ahead later this month – as long as Lockdown levels allow it obviously.

“Yes I am going to have to make a hard call on it one way or the other, but before I do I’d like a least another week’s worth of COVID-19 numbers in front of me to help me decide. Plus, obviously, some idea as to when Cabinet is looking at getting Auckland back to Level 2.”

For more information on either the new NaZCAR Pro Series or the NaZCAR Lemons continuous 24 Hour event go to nazcar.nz or check out the NaZCAR page on Facebook.

Ross MacKay is an award-winning journalist, author and publicist with first-hand experience of motorsport from a lifetime competing on two and four wheels. He currently combines contract media work with weekend Mountain Bike missions and trips to grassroots drift days.

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