Border issues and fluctuating international restrictions force organisation’s hand
The HERO-ERA organisation has had to make the painful decision to postpone both Sahara Challenges until 2022. Continuing border issues between Spain and Morocco, together with fluctuating international COVID restrictions, were sufficient to threaten both the health and travel plans of competitors.
With the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic and varying international restrictions affecting border admissions, and therefore the safety of entrants, HERO-ERA has made the difficult but informed decision to postpone both events. The decision has been further accelerated by the impending deadlines for travel plans and car shipment which draw ever closer.
Despite overcoming many obstacles to be able to run the thrilling 29th Classic Marathon in Spain and Portugal in July, the first HERO-ERA international event since the New Zealand Classic Rally in February 2020, the third Sahara Challenge has proved to be an obstacle too far as HERO-ERA Chairman Tomas de Vargas Machuca reluctantly explained.
“The postponement of such an eagerly anticipated event is regrettable, but for the safety of our crews and in order to prevent any unnecessary logistical expenditure on behalf of the teams, we at HERO-ERA have taken the prudent approach in postponing now.
“Our team have been in daily contact with the authorities in both Spain and Morocco in their efforts to ensure the smooth running of the third Sahara Challenge to our own high standards. Right up until deadlines loomed, the HERO-ERA team have been busy trying to find different options so the event could go ahead, but sadly it was not possible. It wasn’t just the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic issues, but also the border crossings, due to an ongoing dispute between Spain and Morocco the ferry crossing remains out of operation.
“However, this exciting challenge was meticulously planned and ready, so we expect to be able to announce a new date for the ‘oven ready’ Sahara Challenge 2022 as soon as we have rejigged our calendar of events. I am sure our friends and clients will share our disappointment, but at the same time understand the situation with a view to looking forward to future events.”
As with other HERO-ERA events in 2020 and 2021 that have experienced disruption, the organisation will not be retaining non refundable deposits, but will instead offer competitors the options of keeping their entry and deposit to roll over to Sahara Challenge 2022, or transfer the deposit to another HERO-ERA event which has entry space. The Competition Team are currently working on a provisional date for the same time in 2022 which will be confirmed as soon as possible.
HERO-ERA have asked for everyone’s patience for a couple of weeks whilst changes are made to the events calendar first, which as many will appreciate, is not the work of a moment.