1,609 metres. 16 horses. Two heats. One final.
But no spectators.
Solvalla has decided that Elitloppet 2021 will go ahead as planned in the last weekend of May.
Due to the restrictions from the authorities, which impose strong limitations on public events both in culture and sports, Elitloppet 2021 will be held without spectators like it was in 2020.
Elitloppet was incepted in 1952 and, with the exception of the very first year, has been held annually at the end of May/ beginning of June. The Elitloppet weekend is one of Sweden's biggest public events and normally attracts 40,000-50,000 visitors a year
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Solvalla and all Swedish harness race tracks having to keep their spectator areas closed since 12 March 2020. Since then, the race tracks have been categorised strictly as workplaces and only those who have jobs to perform have access.
However, Solvalla plans to open some of the restaurant areas at this year’s Elitloppet Weekend on 28-30 May.
A limited number of seated tables will be available to owners of starting horses and guests who rebooked their restaurant visits for Elitloppet 2020 in 2021 instead.
“It goes without saying that we comply strictly with all existing rules and guidelines, which entails a lot of planning work for us and changes for our guests too. We plan to open only certain sections of Solvalla’s restaurants in order to make people’s visits as safe and secure as possible,” says Solvalla’s CEO, Jörgen Forsberg.
According to the restrictions, restaurants may remain open until 8.30 pm and a maximum of four people are allowed in each group of guests.
“We will be taking this a step further by introducing ‘slot times’ for those who have booked a table at our restaurants. They will be allotted a specific time to arrive at the entrance at Solvalla in order to prevent congestion,” says Jörgen Forsberg.
Solvalla’s wide range of restaurants allows guests to be spread at a safe distance. Kongressen, Valla Krog, Festvåningen (the banqueting room) and Bistro are planned to be open during the Elitloppet weekend.
“They will be open with some restrictions”. Places at a restaurant table will be offered to horse owners with starting horses and guests who rebooked their restaurant visits for Elitloppet from 2020 for 2021. “We are unable and are not permitted to sell entrance tickets to the event and the spectator areas will remain closed,” says Jörgen Forsberg.
The Elitloppet weekend races will be broadcast on TV in Sweden on TV4 and TV12 and ATG Live. Elitloppet can be enjoyed by viewers in around 15 countries.
“The whole of society is going through a very tough period. We hope to contribute world-class racing and satisfy the need for entertainment in these challenging times. I am therefore pleased that trotting enthusiasts can at least can watch the event on TV or via live streaming.”
FAQ about Elitloppet 2021
What has been decided?
- Elitloppet will go ahead as originally planned, at the weekend of 28-30 May.
Why is Elitloppet being held given the current pandemic situation?
- We comply with existing laws and regulations and, as we have the means to hold Elitloppet in a safe and secure manner, we feel we have a responsibility to go ahead with the races. Harness racing is the dynamo of the horse industry and provides jobs for thousands of people. To continue with the racing is crucial for entrepreneurs and employees in the horse industry and is therefore also important for society in general. Harness racing, and Elitloppet in particular, is one of the highlights of the year, and gives people in these times something to look forward to. The Elitloppet weekend will be broadcast on TV in its entirety.
Why not reschedule Elitloppet?
- The elite race horses have been in preparation for this weekend and it is difficult to find another date that is compatible with the race calendar both nationally and internationally Additionally, we don’t know when spectators will be allowed back in sports arenas in larger numbers. We also have a long tradition of holding the Elitloppet on the last Sunday of May.
What does this entail for people like me who have bought a ticket?
- You have the choice of either rebooking your ticket for 2022 or getting a refund.
Will the restaurants be open?
- According to the restrictions from the authorities, restaurants can remain open until 8.30 pm and there is a maximum of 4 guests allowed per table.
Will there be any changes to the races at this year’s Elitloppet weekend?
- Compared with 2020 there will only be very minor changes to the programme.
Will there be any changes as regards prize money at the Elitloppet weekend?
- The prize money for the Harper Hanovers Lopp race will be higher compared with both 2019 and 2020, and will be SEK 1 million for the winner. Some of the other races will also have a changed prize money compared with 2020.
Elitloppet is the main event at the Elitloppet weekend at Solvalla, 28-30 May 2021. Elitloppet is a “by invitation only” race with 16 horses racing in two eight-horse heats. The first four horses that cross the line in each heat meet in the Elitloppen final.