Before we move onto progress at Odsal, I feel it pertinent to share our interpretation of the Governments roadmap out of lockdown unveiled yesterday the 22nd February by the Prime Minister.
I can only speak on behalf of Startrax and our initial thoughts and planning forward and not BriSCA or ORCi who will collaborate over the next several days after understanding more of the detail to plan accordingly.
Wearing my heart on my sleeve, after a crushing ' commercially' 2020 season where, and only with the goodwill of Rob and Paul and Graham, did we manage to operate two events - and not at our venues, it resulted in an understandable 'loss' for 2020 for the business and much to the disappointment of Mrs Rees, a postponement of our retirement after 25 years at the coalface, however one must reflect on positives and the tragedies of the last 12 months and believe we have been fortunate. It has not stopped us 'living the dream' and the passion of re-opening Odsal and investing to be 'ready' for 3rd April against the backdrop of uncertainty. We considered the options of postponement and delaying the project until there was perhaps more commercial confidence but offset against the real possibility that delay could see either it not happening at all - and to get so near and so far would let so many people down - and a delay would at best mean the earliest it re opened may well have been 2022. Therefore, we progressed fully minded of implications commercially which we must manage. Your support and people who have helped us has been what has keeping us driven and we are indebted to that warmth which has provided confidence and we sincerely hope that will remain until we eventually re open for the 2021 season.
In fairness, when we had to cancel our finale at King's Lynn in November when government advice changed, whilst the revenue loss was a huge blow, given the uptick in the infection rate and genuine concerns over travel, I have to admit some 'relief' at the time as the situation was becoming both of concern and divided opinion - and our prime concern is being morally right and keeping safe and whilst our own views were conflicted, the situation was dictated and we can live with that.
So, to the latest government roadmap announced this week. Whilst a bitter disappointment for us commercially at such a crucial time the primary concern is keeping safe and in the medium term returning us 'all' to a sense of normality again, the consequences for many have been devastating - and for the good of all, yesterday's announcement from my perspective was not unexpected, frustrating yes, however I think makes sense and does provide more clarity as to where we are going and how we can plan with more confidence and there are 'upsides'
What does it mean for Startrax specifically. As we see it today, both Sheffield and Bradford are classified as 'elite' Sports Grounds and the clarity in the current roadmap is crowds planned to be allowed to return on or after 17th May - we have already 'suspended' and 'postponed' the Sheffield opener on the 21st March as there is zero visibility of anything changing in 26 days. Neither do we expect the planned events at Bradford on 3rd April, Sheffield 4th April, Bradford 24th April or 1st May to take place an currently these events are suspended. However, we are now re working fixtures based on latest information to 'resume' from the 17th May - and, in all likelihood re open Whitsun weekend. On the upside, capacities were restricted to an anticipated 2000 maximum, not ideal and, on the upside it is looking more promising that more will be able to enjoy the events with possibly levels being raised to 4000 and a visibility from the 21st June of 'some' form of normality in terms of attendance after 21st June. That provides much more confidence for the Summer and Autumn for Championship events and, being able to host the World Final on a much sounder basis. So what does it mean / A delay in the seasons commencement but much more optimism as to it's commencement and a more promising outlook. It is worth being patient to be safe and get through this in the most appropriate manner in practical terms and to protect lives. A small price to pay for a vision of stability to come.
We have already been in brief communication with the Woods family, who continue to support us and this event on 24th April will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity - we have a date as a plan B already envisaged. Likewise Sheffield on 21st March is 'suspended' until a later date, Bradford's opener on 3rd April is 'suspended' until a later date as is Sheffield on 4th April and the planned Bradford on 1st May should also be considered 'suspended' - We will update later in March our vision to confirm re opening dates at Odsal and Sheffield. More important, advance tickets purchased for Bradford on 3rd April and 24th April will simply be valid for the re staging dates. When we confirm the rescheduled dates, you may request a refund if you are unable to attend [ please, not before ] however bear in mind, the openers, whilst these may see slightly higher attendances, we anticipate will still have restrictions until Mid / late June at the earliest. We more than ever would appreciate your support at this time whilst we all understand and get through this - But one certainty, we will open, bigger, brighter and with enthusiasm and more than ever over the last 4/5 months we have clarity and some confidence now. IF anything changes that allows an 'earlier' opening, we do not anticipate that before 1st May and we will 'open' as soon is safely possible. Again, your support will be hugely appreciated if you can be patient and be with us.
In summary: Until we can update further
Sheffield - March 21st Suspended
Bradford - 3rd April Suspended
Bradford - 24th April Suspended
Replacement & Official opening dates will follow in a timely manner
Moving forwards, it has given us renewed optimism with regards the World Final F1 wise which has been sat 'furloughed' pending visibility and, on Saturday 3rd April we will announce BIG and exciting NEWS that we can now confirm for the BriSCA F1 World in September and unveil our reconfigured plans which are exciting - and Tickets will go back on sale from Monday 5th April 2021. We also anticipate that we will be able to release a limited further batch of tickets from 10.00.am on the 5th for the Bradford opener.
Your support thus far has been beyond the call of duty and provided confidence to continue, at this time, we urge you to be with us and value that support!
Back to today! Our vision for Bradford has not diminished our enthusiasm or investment albeit with all the extras we have taken on board for pride to reboot the stadium, finances are now very thin to get everything done. We expect laying the track to be completed 'this week' and then, next month will be spent laying top dressing material and grading - and, the delay in start will actually help us try and get the track to perfection. As you will see from updated photos, it really is looking superb. We are investing around £40k 'extra' unbudgeted for pride to get the old girl looking the part, and you have helped us enormously in contributions for paint etc, banners and EVERY PENNY of that is going back to stadium and despite our budget now thin, our aim is to at least match it so we can get more done, and the additional time will be used productively. I would like to encourage support even from just £5 donations to help contribute to us doing more - we still have trackside banners and sponsorship available - and trust me every penny helps - and on Saturday, we will outline in more detail what is happening in March, what extra things we are doing and where every penny extra is being spent - please be with us.
As a family, we now have a plan, we will use the extra time productively and there is a roadmap now to a GREAT 2021 season, which just need a little more patience and anticipation as the weeks will tick by and your support is valued and thank you
Steve & Jackie