We start essentially where we left off last season. The world has obviously changed quite drastically since then, and here we are finally back at the races at the end of August. It's a bit strange to be honest. There is the feeling of things being almost normal, until the reality of the times we live in smack you in the face. Seeing old friends and going in for a hug only to remember you are wearing a mask and must retain six feet of distance. There's hand sanitizer at the entrance to the closed pits and bubbles within bubbles to keep us all safe. The excitement is there but turned down a notch or two. A feeling of caution.
News of illness has us all a bit more on edge, but the affected people have quarantined themselves and are awaiting test results before further measures can be taken. To be honest, enduro is the perfect format of racing during a Covid-19 pandemic since there's a bit of distance that's always maintained in the first place. Chris Ball and company have been working around the clock to pull this off, and given the latest spate of inter-EU travel restrictions, it's amazing to see it all come together. They have done an incredible job pulling this all off with grace.
But there are still those things, or people, who are glaringly missing - Sam Hill and Richie Rude are clearly the most obvious. Sam Hill made a solid decision not to travel with the help and blessing of Nigel Page. For Richie Rude, it was down to travel restrictions. Pedro Burns is also missing, because of said restrictions. Ines Thoma is missing due to a thyroid issue and we wish her a speedy recovery. How the Covid crisis has affected the privateers remains to be seen.
But enough of the doom and gloom. In the end, we have returned to racing, and it feels damn good to be here in the mountains of Switzerland, and a bow or an elbow bump will suffice. We have four stages of racing coming at us, a bit of foul weather in the forecast and we can't wait to get amongst it.