Concerns raised over haze in Singapore ahead of GP

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Organizers of the Singapore Grand Prix are keeping a close eye on pollution levels in the city’s air ahead of next weekend’s race.

Singapore is currently experiencing high levels of haze due to the annual forest burning in nearby Indonesia to clear land for agriculture.

According to the Air Quality Index, the air in Singapore is currently rated as “unhealthy” due to the added pollution that has created a haze over the city, recording a rating of 159. In comparison, New York City’s AQI score is a healthy 23, whilst Shanghai’s comes in at 50.

The haze has resulted in the cancellation or alteration of recent sporting events. The Strait Times reported that the Safra Celebration Run and Ride event saw its 5km celebration run and 1.5km life run be reduced to walks “to prevent participants from engaging in ‘strenuous outdoor physical exertion'”.

The Singapore National Environement Agency has also issued a warning, saying: “Given the air quality forecast for the next 24 hours, healthy persons should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion.

“The elderly, pregnant women and children should minimise outdoor activity, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid outdoor activity. Persons who are not feeling well, especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention.”

As a result, the organizers of the Singapore Grand Prix are now on red alert, but explained to Reuters that a plan is in place should the haze remain a problem for next weekend’s race.

“The possibility of haze is just one of the many potential issues that are covered in the overall 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix Contingency Plan,” a spokesperson said.

“The plan was formulated and refined with stake holders, government bodies and the Formula 1 community.

“In the event that the haze caused visibility, public health or operational issues Singapore GP would work closely with the relevant agencies before making any collective decisions regarding the event.”

The Singapore Grand Prix is one of just two night races on the F1 calendar, starting at 8pm local time before finishing around two hours later.

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”