This year’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup event in Fort William and the Scottish Rally Championships have become the latest events to be cancelled due to coronavirus.
The MTB World Cup was due to hold the fourth round of its downhill calendar at Nevis Range during the weekend of June 6-7, which would have been the 19th consecutive UCI World Cup at the Lochaber venue.
Following government advice on social distancing and travel restrictions, organisers attempted to reschedule the event but have now been forced to cancel after no suitable date could be find.
Full refunds will be available to spectators who had purchased tickets for the Aonach Mor event, with the alternative option of having them allocated to a future event.
A statement from the organisers said: “We are sorry to announce the Fort William round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is cancelled.
“The recent official confirmation that social distancing will be necessary for an extended period, together with current government advice on travel and events means any hopes of running the June UCI World Cup in Fort William have ended.
“We did investigate re-scheduling options with cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and other partners but no alternative viable dates could be found.
“Thanks to all fans, riders, teams, event crew, contractors, sponsors and partners for their support and we’re looking forward to an even bigger UCI World Cup weekend in the future.”
The Scottish Rally Championship will also cease, after organisers took the decision to cancel all four remaining events in the 2020 season.
All competitors will be refunded their registration fees in full, while the Championship points from the only completed event of the season – the Coogie Urquhart Snowman Rally in Inverness – will be void.
The result of the rally, which was won by Cornhill-on-Tweed’s Michael Binnie and co-driver Claire Mole in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, will still stand however.
SRC chairman Gordon Adam said: “We apologise to all competitors, sponsors and fans who will all be affected by this difficult decision but given the circumstances it was the only responsible one we could make.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to spread and apply pressure to our national health service, and with half the calendar now called off it would simply make no sense to continue with the 2020 SRC and potentially put people’s lives at risk.
“As an organising team our attentions have already turned to 2021 where we aim to deliver the best championship possible.”