Coronavirus crisis leads to cancellation of Scottish Rally Championship event as Moray's Speyside Stages is called off
THIS year's McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally is the latest sporting occasion to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The event, part of the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship, was due to take place in Moray and Aberdeenshire on Saturday, April 18.
A decision was made by the organisers, Elgin's 63 Car Club, to call off the event rather than try to reschedule it for later in the year.
It is the first time in 24 years that the Speyside Stages have been cancelled, with the event even surviving the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001.
A club statement read: "With the on‐going situation regarding the COVID‐19 illness changing every day – together with the latest Scottish Government advice on mass gatherings ‐ event organisers were left with no other option but to cancel the event.
"The club have not taken this decision lightly, but the health and safety of all competitors, volunteers and the general public must be the priority at these concerning times.
Clerk for the course, Neil Shanks added: "Whilst as a club we are disappointed to take this course of action, we feel that we have a responsibility to all of our event volunteers, competitors, sponsors and partners to remove any uncertainty with a firm decision in good time.
"With a busy event calendar in the period where we will hopefully see things returning to normal, the club have decided the cancellation, and not postponement is the most responsible course of action, and we will focus our efforts on our 2021 event.
"The club will work to refund all entry fees in full, along with sponsorship monies paid, as soon as possible."
Event sponsor Miguel Gomez from McDonald & Munro said: "We fully support the decision that Neil and his team have reached. These are unprecedented and uncertain times for us all, and safety has to be the top priority for everyone.
"We too look forward to 2021 when the event will return better than ever."
The club have the full support of their partners, and the organisers and sponsors of the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship, of which the event was due to be the second round.
The championship will now operate as a six-round competition.