Taupo 1000 stalled by traffic lights
Uncertainty over event status pushes race back a year
New Zealand’s biggest international endurance race, the Taupo 1000, has been pushed back to 2023 by ongoing uncertainty over the nation’s Covid response status.
The race requires at least a clear 18 months of organisation time, but promoter Tony McCall says with the Covid traffic lights still ‘red’ six months out from the race weekend it was not possible to guarantee the event could run.
“We couldn’t go ahead, couldn’t take pre-entry deposits, couldn’t book toilets or marquees or rubbish services without facing a huge loss if the traffic lights prevented us running.”
Even now, with the traffic light system stalled at ‘orange’, the race could not have been organised and run in the few months remaining.
“In particular, the ‘1000’ has always been an international race and we want to be able to attract overseas teams.”
The race returns to its ‘classic’ format on a mixed farm and forest course after two events as a ‘NZ1000’ near Tokoroa. It attracts up to 100 teams every time it is held. Up to half of all entries in previous years have been trucks and 4WDs.
“This is more than just a race, it’s an event that has a significant positive impact on the Taupo region’s economy. With tourism not yet re-established, it is important to be able to run the ‘1000’ in its full strength,” said McCall.
The last ‘classic’ Taupo 1000 was won by Whangarei’s Clim Lammers, an endurance race specialist. Based on a farm ten minutes outside the resort town, it attracted a record entry, something the organisers want to repeat but are unsure they would achieve given the current requirements over vaccinations and vax passports for participants, spectators and service providers.
In an effort to gain a ‘breathing space’ from the current event environment, McCall says organisers have settled on a new date in the third quarter of 2023.