D-Day for proposed car race at Mudgee Airport

START YOUR ENGINES: Councillors will vote on the proposed airport race on Wednesday. Photo: supplied.
START YOUR ENGINES: Councillors will vote on the proposed airport race on Wednesday. Photo: supplied.

The fate of a drag-race style event, proposed for Mudgee Airport, rests with Mid-Western Regional Councillors this week.

The event – which sees drivers race the clock over a one-kilometre strip – ran for six years at a private airport in Cooma, and the organisers are looking for a new home for the ‘Snowy Mountains 1000’.

Councilors will vote on the proposal by the Central Coast organisers – Runway Motorsport Australia – at the general meeting on Wednesday evening.

But a Council report suggests the ‘one-day sprint car motor race’ should not be cleared for take-off.

The event would be held on one weekend per year over a three to five year period. 

If the event proposal is supported by Council, the first event is expected to be held in February or March 2018. 

The report acknowledges the tourism benefits to the greater region, but states, “the risk of potential damage to the runway and airport infrastructure resulting in any disruption to FlyPelican flights is of great concern”. 

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The report takes into account the disruption to FlyPelican services, with the airport facilities required all day Friday and Sunday overlapping arrival and departure times.

The airline has advised Council they, ‘cannot support the proposal given the potential risk of damage to the runway and hence flight services’. 

Other Airport users have not been consulted, but the report recommends seeking feedback from all potentially impacted businesses and users if Council supports the event. 

“Closure of the airport over the three days proposed to accommodate the runway event may result in negative business impacts (e.g. loss of trade, inability to meet contractual obligations or service requirements),” the report continues.

The Council would be required to lay a 5m x 120m strip of hot mix at the northeastern end of the runway at a cost of approximately $30,000, as requested by the event organiser.

“The event organiser was reluctant to increase the hire fee in his original proposal and is also reluctant to provide a bank guarantee to ensure that any damage to the airport would be repaired,” according to the report.

The event hire fee would be $6,500, per annum, over the term of the agreement.

Concerns were also raised about how quickly the organiser could vacate if an emergency was to occur requiring the airport to be reopened. 

Council requested the organiser consider hosting the event on a public road, but that suggestion was declined due to car speed.