2004 Bathurst 24 Hours Officially Cancelled
Throughout the past turbulent weeks Australian endurance racing fans have kept alive their hopes of seeing a third edition of the 24 hour race at Mount Panorama; now these hopes have finally been dashed by a statement from the Bathurst Regional Council.

"As we had suspected, the level of organisation required in an event of this scale within three months is not really feasible", says Council Administrator, Kath Knowles in the press release that officialy calls off the 24 Hours of Bathurst for this year. The Bathurst Council has backed the efforts to keep the race on the calendar until the last minute; but "with the news this week that it was unlikely that a television broadcast deal could be secured for the event and serious doubts about the sustainable viability of the current proposals it is no longer an economically viable option."

Although the Australian motorsport authority CAMS was said to be looking at two proposals from parties interested in organising the event this year, it was obviously too late to get the necessary deals together in time: "Although there was some strong interest from a number of international teams in recent months, the ground work required to secure these and other entries could not be achieved by November."

"It is very disappointing that but we should acknowledge the efforts of Bathurst Regional Council and others in exploring all available commercial opportunities that would enable the event to go ahead", adds CAMS president, Colin Osborne, "there was always going to be a marginal viability to an event of this kind in the short term but we are confident that in the long term the 24 Hour Race or a revised version of this event will go ahead."

This statement indicates that while Australian race fans will miss out on 24 hour racing action this year, the last word may not have been spoken for 2005 and beyond. The City of Bathurst deserves every credit for lending its support to a motor race in this fashion, at a time when such events are deemed politically incorrect by other communities. And it seems this support will continue: "Council is very disappointed that the event will not go ahead this year but remains optimistic for the future."

Since its inaugural running in 2002, the 24 Hours of Bathurst has become an "instant classic", an event that has captured the imagination of many motorsport fans in Australia and around the world. We would very much like to see it back on the schedule in 2005.
JG

 

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