Summernats organisers say the decision to cancel a smaller-scale Rare Spares Rev Rock ‘n’ Roll event had nothing to do with the illegal driving events across Canberra last weekend, labelling the behaviour as “disgraceful”.
The Rare Spares Rev Rock ‘n’ Roll event, which would have been a first for the Summernats community, was to be held in Canberra in March, and was a sweetener for car enthusiasts following the cancellation of the main Summernats 2021.
But on Wednesday night organisers decided to cancel the event, with managing director Andy Lopez saying they did not want to put pressure on ACT Health services during COVID-19, or risk staging an event amid changing border closures.
“The ongoing uncertainty around borders, and particularly the ACT making the decision [about] NSW after the most recent COVID outbreak a couple of weeks ago, kind of put a bit of a fright on us,” Mr Lopez said.
“[It] did make us reassess the reality of trying to bring an event into Canberra in March, which was going to be heavily dependent on interstate attendees, both spectators and entrants.
“These events are really expensive to stage, and we made the decision that the financial risk [was too high].”
Like Summernats proper, Rare Spare Rev Rock ‘n’ Roll would have been held at EPIC, with spectators capped at 5,000.(ABC News: Rohan Dadswell)
Mr Lopez said the cancellation was “a difficult decision to make, but we’re confident that it’s the right one”.
“And I think also, the ACT is a small population, the concept of bringing in thousands and thousands of interstate travellers may have made the community a bit nervous at that particular time,” he said.
“We just thought that it was the best decision for all parties.
“We’ve given it a really good crack, but it hasn’t worked.”
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Burnouts did not have ‘the slightest’ impact on event’s cancellation
Crowds gather across Canberra to watch illegal driving.
Mr Lopez said the illegal meet up in Fyshwick on Friday where police were attacked, and the dangerous driving down Canberra’s Lonsdale Street on Friday and Saturday evenings which saw roads closed and cars impounded, did not have “the slightest” impact on the decision to cancel Rare Spares Rev Rock ‘n’ Roll.
“That was disgraceful, that behaviour, and that doesn’t represent the ACT street machine community, it doesn’t represent the values of Summernats at all,” Mr Lopez said.
Mr Lopez added that Summernats organisers did not “have any more control over that than V8 supercars do of people who speed on the road”.
“It’s disgraceful behaviour, it puts the police and the community at risk, and goes against everything that Summernats stands for.”
Instead, he said he and his team would look forward to organising successful events for the Summernats community next year.
“We’ll put all our time and energy into staging what’s going to be a massive Summernats 2022,” he said.
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