With Japan maintaining tight control on entry of foreigners even as countries around the world speed up their vaccination drives, the 43rd running of the famous motorcycle enduro has been rescheduled from its traditional July slot to November 7.
The 12 Hours of Estoril in Portugal will now be held on July 17 in a direct swap between the two races.
The organisers hope that Japan’s entry restrictions will be eased by November, allowing international riders to take part in the race.
“We had been planning to hold the ‘Coca-Cola’ Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race in July, but due to the projected conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and factors like the restrictions on travel, the decision was made to postpone the event to November,” Kaoru Tanaka, President and Representative Director of Mobilityland Corporation, said.
“Regarding this change in scheduling, I want to extend my sincere thanks to the FIM, Eurosport Events, the MFJ and the various domestic circuits for their kind understanding.
“Our entire company is now working as one to complete preparations to ensure that the race can be held in November.”
Last year’s Suzuka 8 Hours event was also originally postponed from July to November before ultimately being called off due to the pandemic.
It marked the first time the race had not been held in a calendar year since its inaugural edition in 1978.
The 2021 EWC season is due to kick off with the Le Mans 24 Hours bike race on April 17-18, followed by the German event at Oschersleben on May 23. Following the visit to the rescheduled Portugal race in July, the series will return to France in September at Paul Ricard before Suzuka hosts the bonus points title decider in November.
“We suggested to the organizers of the Suzuka 8 Hours and the 12 Hours of Estoril that they switch their dates for the good of the championship and to make it easier for teams to travel to Japan,” François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events said.
“In the coming months, it will still be hard to have a clear idea regarding travel management and public attendance at the circuits. The 2021 season will be an excellent one with an opening race at Le Mans and a grand finale at Suzuka to decide the title.”