As the COVID-19 situation is putting spanners in the wheels of most North African and European rally races, many of them canceled or changing their planned routes like the Africa Eco Race, it appears that only one international rally in Europe is still going ahead. Hellas Rally Raid 2020 is scheduled for October 11-17 in Nafpaktos, Greece, and according to organizers, the number of competitors is almost back to what it was in spring.
However, there will be a lot of new measures taken this year. Wearing masks will be compulsory for all competitors and rally staff, the awards ceremony will not be held in town but rather within the boundaries of the rally bivouac in open air, and the daily briefings may take place online or in written instructions posted around the bivouac. The admin office will accept competitors on a person-by-person basis for scrutineering to avoid queues and large numbers of people indoors.
“The borders are open, the competitors can take the Italian ferries to Patras, Greece, which is very close to Nafpaktos, the land borders are open and the airlines operate as normal. The municipality of Nafpaktos is fully prepared to receive the rally. On our end, we’re ready to go, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of all the rally participants and staff. Obviously, it’s impossible to predict further last-minute border closures or restrictions in September and October, but I’m confident the rally will take place and we will have a great event”, Meletis Stamatis, organizer or the rally, has said.
The entries are still open until September, and as all the other big international rallies in Europe are canceled, Hellas is poised to attract a record number of pilots and riders this year.