By Charlene Papasodaro
The Haldimand Press
HAGERSVILLE—It was with disappointment that management at Jukasa Motor Speedway announced all events scheduled for the 2020 season have been postponed until 2021. Though the track was permitted to open in Stage 3 of the Province’s reopening plans, fan numbers are limited to 100 people. Because of this, “it is not feasible to hold events this year,” said Alex Nagy, General Manager at the speedway. “Our industry is driven by fans. We just can’t operate without them.”
The final decision comes just a few weeks before Labour Day weekend, usually one of their biggest events. With 30% of the teams that would participate in this event being based in the United States, and with the Canada/USA border still closed, it’s another hurdle that Jukasa doesn’t see itself overcoming. Nagy said, “We waited as long as we could. Unfortunately, it’s not going to work out.”
Financially, the speedway is facing huge losses. Nagy revealed that, “At this stage we’re down well over $1 million dollars in lost revenue.”
He further commented on the lost revenue to small businesses near the speedway that would normally see extra income because of the people coming to events held there. “It’s unfortunate,” said Nagy.
This season would have had 10 events, seven of which were racing. Many people were also looking forward to the addition of the first annual Fest of Bikes, which Jukasa hoped would be another successful draw for locals and tourists alike. Each event day would normally require anywhere from 50 to 100 workers, many of whom would normally be local students. With no events being hosted, these jobs have been lost for the summer.
Nagy explained that Jukasa and a group of fellow track promoters and sanctioning bodies who make up the Motorsports Promotors Association have been trying to work with the Province to develop plans that will allow motorsports businesses to open on a more viable basis. Nagy said they have submitted plans to the Province that would allow motorsports to operate on a percentage of space capacity instead of a set limit.
“We’re totally outside and can seat up to 8,000 people,” he explained. The group has yet to hear back from the Province on this new proposal.
While they are seeking accommodations, Nagy insisted, “We haven’t asked to open without restrictions…. We respect reopening safely. However, we feel there is a bit of movement to operate within.”
Nagy said they are continuing to try to get fans back to the track safely: “Our fans have been great, understanding, and looking forward to next year.”
The APC United Late Model Series, OSCAAR, and the NASCAR Pinty’s Series still have events scheduled at Juaksa on September 12 and 26, 2020 as part of a condensed televised season. As it stands there will be no fans permitted at these events. The APC and OSCAAR events will be viewable by streaming from GForce TV and the NASCAR Pinty’s series on TSN.
Any tickets already purchased for the 2020 season will remain valid for the 2021 events, for which dates should be announced later this year.
Jukasa thanks their fans, competitors, and partners for their support and patience during this time. Nagy concluded, “(We are) disappointed, but we’re excited about the future and 2021 and we’re looking forward to it. We’ll make it our best season yet!”