The 2020 motorsport season was halted, as is the case with all other sports disciplines in March when the government announced a national lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
By then, only two events on the National Rally Championship (NRC) had been completed with Fred Kizito Busulwa leading the drivers’ standings with 130 points after two rounds in Mbarara and Jinja.
Omar Mayanja follows him on 110 while Hassan Alwi who won the Jinja rally is third with 100 points.
Those NRC points will be carried forward going into the 2021 season following a decision made by domestic rally governing body FMU.
It could have been better for the leaders with the possibility of declaring Busulwa as the winner after two rounds or worse if FMU had completely written off the calendar.
Reynolds Kibira, Chairman of the Sporting Commission however believes they came out with a fair option.
“We used the precedent of the African Rally Championship (ARC) where the rest of the calendar was written off after the first race,” he explained.
Only the first ARC event, rallye côte d’Ivoire bandama had been completed by the time the championship was also halted.
“Therefore the sporting calendar will start with the next event as per the 2020 season. That event will be the NRC 3 and it will be organized by Southern MotorClub and will start in March.
We hope that by then some of the stringent measures will have been eased and we would be able to run the championship just by following standard operating procedures.
The championships that are involved in the postponed calendar are the National Rally Championship, two-wheel drive championship, clubman rally championships, sprint and veteran championship.
Therefore such competitors that had accumulated their points in 2020 will carry on their points into the 2021 calendar,” Kibira explained.
Motocross competitors will however start afresh after FMU opted to award winners from the opening round
“As far as motorcycling is concerned, we elected to award the champions based on the events that had been held. Motorcycling has age limits.
If you postpone the championship to the following year, many of the people who have been participating in some classes will not be eligible to compete in other classes.
So it was only wise for us to declare the champions in line with FIA,” opined Kibira.
Miguel Katende consequently edged out William Blick in the MX50 class while Mubarak Ssenoga topped MX65. Milton Obote Akena is now the MX85 champion while Klyan Wekesa is the MX125 class king.
FMU also announced plans for the upcoming season that include changes in the rally format.
According to Albert Ofong from the FMU marketing and sponsorship committee, the changes are aimed at improving safety and making the sport more attractive to sponsors and more exciting among fans.
Competitive Stages reduction
“We want to have a change in format in the way we have been organising events for example the minimum distances will be reduced. The number of competitive stages will be reduced. This will help in safety management and also aid in the financial recovery of everybody especially the marketing team. This will be able to give us a product that is sellable to the sponsors and all our partners. We want to change the rally format and have shorter stages that revolve around the service park.
“This gives you the ability to cover events on television, provides safety to fans and provides lower cost to organisers.
“It gives more exposure marketing wise and make it friendly for all stakeholders,” Ofong emphasized.
EVOKING THE LAW
All sporting seasons under FMU ended in 2020 and will have new guidelines in 2021, apart from rallying which will resume with CMC rally in greater Masaka City. The points scored in the two events stay.The decision was taken under the law of national competition’s regulation Article 24: 6.1.