“After considering all currently available information and in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ARC Board of Directors has regretfully decided not to hold the race in 2021,” the organization said in a news release.
The annual event was to have taken place June 22 through 25, 2021. A starting point—Lakeland, Florida—and terminus—Terre Haute, Indiana—had already been selected. It is not known whether these sites will become the new starting point and terminus for any future air races.
The ARC Board of Directors said it has been working on an “alternate flying event for this June that will be exciting and challenging. We will share the details with our racing public in the weeks to come.”
The Air Race Classic was canceled in 2020, along with numerous other aviation events that were postponed or canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since World War II, the race had only been canceled one other time—in 1974, when a fuel crisis gripped the United States.
The popular event, which has its roots in the Powder Puff Derby cross-country air races in the Golden Age of Aviation, is flown in daytime VFR conditions in stock aircraft. Up to 60 teams of two or three pilots have four days to complete a course, which generally extends an average of 2,400 statute miles. To promote a level playing field, each airplane receives a unique handicap and teams race against their own best time. Pilots use strategies to gain advantages from better weather or more favorable winds to beat their handicap by the greatest margin. Prizes include medallions, trophies, and cash awards.