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Bathurst International organisers monitoring border restrictions

Daniel Herrero Mat Coch

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Friday 18th September, 2020 - 4:00pm

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Bathurst International organisers are monitoring border restrictions

Organisers of the Bathurst International are monitoring border restrictions ahead of making a decision on whether the event will go ahead.

The inaugural running of the event is scheduled for November 12-15, though a decision on whether that will happen is expected next month.

Already organisers have had to pivot from the original Bathurst 500 concept owing to the impact of COVID-19, with a four-day weekend to include TCR Australia Series, S5000, Trans Am, and even the rescheduled Bathurst 6 Hour.

The originally planned Bathurst 500 was set to attracted international competitors to complement the local contingent in a standalone endurance race to round out the year.

Border restrictions complicate the running of national level motorsports, with New South Wales currently closed to Victorians (save for border residents).

“We’d be looking probably early- to mid-October to make an announcement on that,” Australian Racing Group CEO Matt Braid told Speedcafe.com.

“Ideally, we’ll hold on as long as we can to see what’s feasible.

“Things can move pretty quickly as we’ve seen, good and bad.

“If the state governments or federal government came out today and made significant concrete announcements on border lifting or remaining closed, then obviously we’ll have no choice but to act on that.

“But at this stage, because it is a watching brief by most states – and certainly, there is aptitude and attitude amongst the states to lift border restrictions as quickly as possible – we are watching on a day by day basis at this point in time.”

An opening of the borders is critical to the event going ahead, suggested Garry Rogers.

The eponymous team owner, who is involved with both TCR and S5000, told SEN’s The Driver’s Seat that the event would not go ahead should the border remain closed.

“No I do not,” Rogers responded when asked if he expected the event to go ahead with the current border restrictions in place.

“The fact of the matter is, we all want it to go ahead,” he added.

“I’m sure all the motor racing people, spectators, supports, everything, all want it to go ahead.

“But the fact of the matter is if we can’t get some sensible productivity budget-wise to be able to recoup the costs of doing all these things then we need to reassess our calendar, where our race events will take place.

“This is not an inexpensive activity to do.

“It’s no good going there and keeping everyone happy and the next thing say ‘gee whiz we’ve only got 10 competitors instead of 50’.

“The fact is, if we plan it sensibly and deal around the government restrictions – some I think are reasonable, some I think are not quite so smart – but we need to work around those parameters that are set before us and come up with a calendar that will work for everybody.”

The TCR Australia Series is yet to turn a wheel in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last time its machinery was officially on track was in support of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in March, getting one day of activity in before the event was cancelled.

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