The iconic Birdsville races have been called off due to the growing uncertainty over Covid-19 border restrictions in Queensland.
Organisers made the decision to postpone the event, originally scheduled for September 3 and 4, until next year as they attempt to maximise the potential attendance.
With huge crowds traditionally descending on the tiny town of 115 people, the decision was to be made to move the event for the second consecutive year.
The two-day event will now be held on April 10 and 11 next year, meaning the club will hold a historic two race meetings in 2022.
“We are now less than a month away from the event, and more than 85% of our ticket holders reside in locations that are interstate and unable to currently enter Queensland, or in lockdown or discouraged from travelling to regional Queensland,” Birdsville Race Club vice president Gary Brook said.
Birdsville Race Club president David Brook at the historic track. Picture: Nell Brook.Source:Supplied
“The fact that key staff and contractors cannot make it to Birdsville now also jeopardises our ability to stage a successful event.
“We consulted key stakeholders and feel that postponing now while our patrons and local businesses in the region can plan for it is the responsible and right thing to do. It’s not what we wanted to do but it is the responsible decision.
“To run the 2021 TAB Birdsville Cup in 2022 is unprecedented but if it's good enough for the Olympics, it’s good enough for us.”
With extreme temperatures in the southwest regions, organisers said moving the event to later in the year was not an option.
“Our unique racetrack is in the Simpson Desert, and the temps regularly hit 45-50 degrees as we head into summer. We’ve gone with April next year when we’ll have lovely temperate weather similar to what we have in September,” Brook said.
It will mark just the third time since the event started in 1882 that it has been cancelled or postponed with Covid-19 in 2020 and equine flu in 2007 the previous obstacles.
Originally published asIconic Birdsville Races Called Off
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