Ypres forced to postpone, but adamant rally will run in 2020

Event organizer waiting for cycling calendar to be confirmed before new date can be put forward

Martin McCormack / Barney Mitchell Skoda Fabia R5

The Ypres Rally in Belgium has been postponed, with a decision on whether the event can run later in the year now expected next week.

Ypres – a round of both the British and Belgian Rally Championships – looked destined to be canceled when the Belgian government announced on April 15 that ‘mass’ events with gatherings of over 500 people were called off until August 31. Ypres was set to run on June 25-27.

But the organizer has been working to try and deliver a rally, and an announcement of a more positive nature was tipped to come this week.

However, the organizer Club Superstage told DirtFish it is awaiting calendar confirmation from UCI Cycling – which hosts several Belgian events – before it can look at announcing a new date.

In a statement, it said: “The coronavirus continues to grip the country and it is impossible to organize a major international sporting event like the Renties Ypres Rally before summer.

“The health of the participants, employees and spectators comes first for Club Superstage the dynamic organising body, and as such they have made the decision to postpone the Renties Ypres Rally.

“Superstage is currently busy finding alternative dates for the Le Seau Monteberg Rally, the Renties Ypres Rally and the Ypres Historic Rally. Negotiations with the federations, city and municipal authorities are in full swing. We hope to be able to communicate a definitive answer to all fans and participants next week.”

If Ypres were to fall off the 2020 rallying calendar, it could cause significant problems for the British Championship. The Ulster Rally was lost on Monday and joined the West Cork Rally and Rally Tendring & Clacton on the sidelines, with the fate of the Galloway Hills Rally still also unclear.

Championship manager Iain Campbell told DirtFish this week that with Ypres still running there were still enough rounds to run a championship, but he has also confirmed that the BRC won’t run with three rounds or fewer.

Ypres is the fifth round of the Belgian series that cannot be run on its original date. The season-opening Rally van Haspengouw went ahead on Feb 29.