Motorsports’ loss could cripple regional tourism
MOTORSPORTS: Warwick motorsport clubs are battling to keep their seasons up and running through border closures and a looming second wave of coronavirus.
The continued uncertainty forced the Warwick Dragway to cancel their massive annual meets in September and October, and event organiser Matt Loy said other races would still be played by ear.
“A lot of the racers in the annuals are from NSW, and we even get them from SA and Victoria, and it just didn’t make sense to have the event with the borders shut and the virus still around,” Loy said.
“We have events at the end of September, which are going to be limited to 80 entrants and have already mostly sold out, and we’re still deciding whether we’ll have spectators.
“Everyone’s jumping at the chance to race in anything – but we don’t know how many we’ll get from around Queensland, because it depends whether people are still worried about travelling.”
At the Warwick Kart Club, secretary Fiona Williams said last weekend’s event saw several families travel from NSW before borders closed to compete to make the most of their shortened season.
“People want to be at the track, they want to race, and this weekend with everything being up in the air, they wanted to get something in case it’s all closed down again,” Williams said.
“Bringing tourists in is a huge thing for us. We know that once a month, motels fill up, along with restaurants, petrol stations, and everything else around town.
“We use as many local facilities as we can, because when we draw people to Warwick it helps everyone, and it’s already been tough not being able to support people in that way through all this.”
For Warwick Vines Motel owner Warren Trout, the threat of motorsport shutting down after already losing so many other tourism drawcards could prove deadly.
“I don’t think we’re really going to know the whole picture until around about two weeks’ time, because the issue with Morgan Park is so many of the guys come from interstate,” Trout said.
“Morgan Park brings in at least 50 per cent of our income, so with that gone, it could be a bit of a problem – we’re still getting a few of the local guys and our regulars, but none of the big weekends.
“We’ve lost that money that would see us through the quieter summer months, so we have a small problem, but we’ll see where it goes.”