ONE of the New Forest's biggest sporting spectacles has been forced off the road by the Covid-19 crisis.

The annual Pedal Car Grand Prix was due to take place at Ringwood in July - but continuing uncertainty over the length and extent of the lockdown has resulted in the event being scrapped.

It coincides with fears for the future of a similar but separately organised contest at New Milton.

The two towns have traditionally taken it in turns to host the grand prix, with hundreds of spectators lining the streets to watch the action.

But the New Milton Jubilee Fund has announced that it will no longer stage its version of the races because of escalating costs.

Now the contest due to take at Ringwood in three months' time has been postponed until July 11 next year.

In a statement the organisers said: "The current Covid-19 restrictions are in place for an unknown period, hindering both training and car-building progress.

"As a committee we want to give teams the best possible chance to prepare for the event while making sure we are making best use of the sponsor money."

The statement said the committee had decided to cancel this year's grand prix rather than spend money preparing for an event which might have to be called off at a later date.

But it added: "Fear not, we are looking to rearrange the event for 11th July 2021 given that the New Milton races were disbanded last year.

"All existing race entries will be honoured for the 2021event, and we thank our sponsors for their continued support during these tough times."

The threat to the future of the New Milton event emerged in November last year.

Robin Ede, chairman of the New Milton Jubilee Fund, said the 2019 contest cost almost £10,00 to stage, leaving little money for the local youth clubs it aimed to support. Almost 30 teams battled it out on a specially-created circuit in the town centre.

Earlier this year it emerged that various groups in the area could join forces in a bid to save the event.