The highly anticipated inaugural Bathurst International has been postponed until next year.
Scheduled to take place in mid-November at the famous Mount Panorama circuit, the decision to postpone the event comes off the back of a number of COVID related operational issues – namely the current border restrictions and quarantine requirements.
As a majority of teams confirmed in the Mount Panorama based event, which would have featured categories such as the Bathurst 6 Hour, TCR Australia, Porsche Sprint Challenge and Holden Bathurst Revival, are located outside New South Wales, the requirement to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for most of these teams would have served as a major challenge.
With more than 350 entries and more than 2000 support staff and Motorsport Australia officials expected to attend, the uncertainty surrounding borders reopening to all states made it increasingly difficult to run the event, despite all COVID safe risk mitigation protocols all being met.
Australian Racing Group (ARG) CEO Matt Braid said many people were working hard to prepare for the event, but as they had entered the critical phase of planning, the decision to not run the event in 2020 had to be made now.
“It is obviously very disappointing to postpone the inaugural running of the Bathurst International,” Braid said.
“No stone was left unturned in the attempt to hold a viable and top class motorsport event, however, the border restrictions that our competitors faced made it an impossible situation.
“We have waited as long as practical to make this decision, but we needed to consider local businesses, competitors and their families, our volunteers and other service providers and provide a timely decision so as not adversely impact their families, their plans or incur unnecessary costs.
“This event was not based around a singular product but a wide and varied motorsport entertainment package which involved over 2000 people attending before the inclusion of fans, families, friends, sponsors, service providers, event staff and broadcast personnel.
“To deliver an event of this magnitude required it to be delivered in the right way and in the current environment that is just not possible.”
Bathurst Mayor Cr Bobby Bourke echoed Braid’s comments and remained committed to running the event 2021.
“While it is disappointing this year’s Bathurst International will not proceed, the current COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult to bring a full field of competitors together for the inaugural event,” Cr Bourke said.
“We look forward to 2021 and Mount Panorama hosting the first Bathurst International and bringing the excitement of this planned new event to Bathurst.
“Council went through an extensive process to select a new fifth event for Mount Panorama and we can’t wait to see the event come to life next year.”
Refunds to anyone who purchased a ticket or campsite will be automatically processed via Ticketek over the next 5-14 business days.
Details for the 2021 Bathurst International will be released in the coming months, with the event’s debut likely to occur towards the end of the calendar year.