Rallycross is back! The legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ – the most famous event on the annual calendar – will this year play host to the opening two rounds of the RallyX Nordic presented by Cooper Tires campaign, with the addition of a special ‘All-Star’ element set to bring together some of the sport’s biggest names while raising vital funds for Finnskoga MK.
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic stopped motorsport abruptly in its tracks back in March, and like almost every series, RallyX Nordic has had to evaluate and revise its calendar in accordance with the ever-evolving situation. While the full schedule remains under review, the wheels are now in motion again and – in just six weeks’ time (2-5 July) – Höljes will once more welcome the most spectacular cars in the sport for a race weekend with a difference.
The ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend will take place over four days – three of which will incorporate lights-to-flag racing from dawn ‘til dusk. The opening round of the 2020 RallyX Nordic season will be held on Thursday, 2 July for all four classes – Supercar, Supercar Lites, CrossCar and CrossCar Junior – followed by an ‘All-Star Shoot-Out’ featuring some of the leading legends of the sport past, present and future in the headlining Supercar and Supercar Lites categories.
Round two – and the main ‘All-Star’ action – follows on Saturday and Sunday (4/5 July), with Friday (3 July) set aside for behind-the-scenes stories, interaction with fans and driver interviews.
The ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend is a joint venture between RallyX Nordic promoter RX Promotion, Höljes’ organising club Finnskoga MK and the Swedish arm of international broadcasting heavyweight NEP. With government guidelines stipulating that the event must take place behind closed doors, a comprehensive livestreaming package will bring all of the action, highlights and exclusive ‘insider’ content right into fans’ living rooms – with the promise to offer spectators more insight into the sport than ever before.
The broadcast will follow a pay-per-view model, with the objective of supporting Höljes, whose future – like that of many motorsport venues around the world – has come under threat from the ongoing COVID-19 situation and associated loss of income.
Jan-Erik Steen, CEO of RX Promotion, said: “We are thrilled to officially announce the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend at Höljes, and the belated start to the 2020 rallycross season! A tremendous amount of planning and hard work has gone into putting this event together from all sides – particularly when faced with the challenge of continuously shifting goalposts in light of the current situation.
“Nobody knows when we will be able to invite spectators to the track again, and with the short-term future of motorsport almost certainly being behind ‘closed doors’, we wanted to offer fans something truly innovative, while doing our bit to safeguard one of the most iconic circuits in rallycross.
“NEP are renowned for their pioneering approach to broadcasting and have a long and successful history of showcasing our sport to millions of households all around the world. We are well aware that fans are crying out for live racing action, and that is what the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend will offer – pure, unadulterated entertainment complemented by premium ‘access-all-areas’ features courtesy of a live on-site studio.
“It is an unprecedented solution for what are unprecedented times, and we believe it offers excellent value for money while enabling fans to support Höljes and ensure the circuit’s future is every bit as glorious as its past – if not indeed more so. We are convinced that the best is yet to come – and it starts now!”
Karl Drakenberg, Creative Director at NEP Sweden, explained: “In times like these, you need to think outside-of-the box. How can we take a big motorsport event like the ‘Magic Weekend’ at Höljes, without any spectator attendance, and convey the same feeling as if you were there?
“The answer is simple: you adapt and you overcome, but the execution requires a whole lot of hard work from all parties. Luckily, thinking about new ways to broadcast rallycross has been in the back of our minds since long before this pandemic outbreak, so we did not have to start from zero.
“A lot of people around the world, including myself and the production crew, have a certain place in our hearts for rallycross, and to see this wonderful sport go down in flames due to the current situation is not an option. Therefore, we want to do everything in our power to prevent that.
“The tight co-operation between NEP, RX Promotion and Finnskoga MK is truly unique; every actor wants to reach the same goal, while all planning and pre-production is taking place through digital meetings. I really think that this will change the traditional way of producing motorsport and hopefully, we can embrace the same philosophy post COVID-19.”
Morgan Östlund, Chairman of Finnskoga MK, added: “For us, having to cancel the ‘Magic Weekend’ was pretty much unthinkable – but that is what we were faced with when the COVID-19 situation set in. It is such a staple of the motorsport calendar, so we worked hard to find an alternative and this was the solution we liked the most and that we thought would fit us as a club.
“The ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend will be a real celebration of rallycross and – after such a long ‘off-season’ – it will truly bring the excitement back for action-starved competitors and fans. In these uncharacteristic times, there is a need to think differently, and the concept that we have come up with in partnership with NEP and RX Promotion represents an innovative way of going racing while continuing to look after our circuit and club.
“Although we are obviously sad not to be able to open our gates to spectators for the event, we would encourage everybody to tune in and enjoy the action in a responsible manner. At the end of the day, if Höljes is to survive the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and flourish in the future, we need fans’ support – and we believe this ‘crowdfunding’ initiative is a great solution. The racing will be first-class and there will be many opportunities to interact directly with the stars of the show, so stay tuned and – until this situation is over – please, stay home.”
Further information about the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend as well as driver announcements will be revealed over the coming days and weeks.