By Jeremy Sollars
The Southern Downs Regional Council has declined to comment on the cancellation of the Warwick Wacky Racers which were to have been held on Saturday 1 October, other than to say it “respects” the decision of the organisers.
The billycart event was last week called off by organisers Total Driver after the council advised they would need to cough up $2500 for a traffic management plan and signage.
The race day had been organised for William Street in west Warwick, with Total Driver spokesman Gene Corbett saying they would have had no way of recouping that amount of money and their decision was a “commercial one”.
He said would-be participants had “bought amazing carts for their kids, sent them to panel beaters and mechanics to build them, paint them and tune them and were keen to go racing in Warwick”.
“Imagine my utter frustration, after months of chasing council, submitting the same applications as they kept losing them and having endless conversations to support the event, that they chose not to, and didn’t event tell us until (we) phoned them yet again for an update,” Mr Corbett said.
“The road block – they expect Total Driver to pay $2500 for the traffic management plan and signs.
“This is a huge out-of-pocket expense for a community event where last year we made $185 for thousands in outgoings and commitments.
“This did not include, time, staff wages and other out-of-pocket expenses.
“Last year, this council fee was a grant, we still had to do all the work, ensure an approved person followed the plan, laid out the signs and packed everything up to return to council.
“They literally did not have to do a thing, but provide signs sitting in their yard.
“This year, they expect Total Driver to pay $2500 for this.
“It is with regret we have no choice but to cancel the Wacky Racers Billycart Championship in Warwick for 1 October.
“This year’s event was going to be a cracker, car show, displays, rocker cover racing, entertainment for young and old and not to mention the Wacky Racers competing down William Street.
“This reason for cancelling this year’s event is not the complete lack of council support, but their insistence on making us pay $2500 for the traffic management plan and their accompanying signs.
“It just does not make any commercial sense.
“I would like to stress, it is not about the money, it is about the council profiting from someone providing a community event that already generates substantial tourism and media that benefits the entire community.”
The Free Times asked council to respond to the media release issued by Total Driver yesterday, Wednesday 6 September, in which the cancellation was announced.
A spokeswoman for the Southern Downs Regional Council said, “the decision not to run Warwick Wacky Racers has been made by the applicant”.
“Council respects that decision and makes no further comment.”
Total Driver has said they would now move the Warwick event to Toowoomba.