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This story first appeared on Onthrottle.co.nz - Written by Mathieu Day-Gillett
We may still be some months away from the 2022 Burt Monro Challenge, but with serious uncertainty surrounding large gatherings in the face of Covid-19 didn’t the hand of organisers has been forced. The 2022 Burt Munro Challenge has been cancelled.
The decision was announced on Thursday, October 28th, with the committee’s decision to cancel the event in light of the uncertainty around the pandemic in general and in particular the new COVID-19 Protection Framework. The 2022 edition takes the unwanted honour as the first time Burt Munro Challenge has been cancelled since it began in 2006.
Committee Chairman Craig Hyde said the decision was made at a committee meeting this week and key funders and sponsors had been notified.
“We’re absolutely gutted that it’s come to this but with a nationally significant event of this magnitude, it’s the right thing to do.
“The Government’s new traffic light system policy is mandatory for events to follow but it creates uncertainty, making it difficult to plan ahead. It doesn’t guarantee competitors and spectators will be able to travel from out of region to the event. We also foresee changes will be required in some of our management systems including ticketing, registration, security, and include alterations to infrastructure.”
The committee did consider postponing the event or reducing the size to include only some of the racing program, but in the end, cancelling was seen as the only option available.
“We know the Southland community will be disappointed the event has been cancelled. We receive a lot of support to execute the Burt and in turn support a lot of business and community groups.
Having the motorcycle community pilgrimage their way south from as far as Cape Reinga to soak up the Burt experience, watch the races, socialise at the rally, catch up and tell a few yarns is all part of the experience.”
Great South GM Tourism and Events Bobbi Brown said the cancellation was totally understandable but would have a significant impact on the Southland economy.
“It’s a huge loss. We can only hope we get back to some kind of normality in the next year and the event will return in full swing in 2023.”
When the Government provides clarity to the events sector, the Burt Munro Committee will begin preparations for the 8 – 12 February 2023 event, Mr Hyde said.