Facing continual border uncertainty at being able to run an international event for 2020, organisers Rally New Zealand have opted to cancel this year’s International Rally of Whangarei.
Originally scheduled to run 8 – 10 May as a combined FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) event, it was postponed just prior to New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown.
With much of the planning in place organisers were hopeful a new date could be set once border measures allowed for international travellers.
Chairman of the organising committee Mr Willard Martin said the decision was inevitable given the growing uncertainty around offshore travel.
“As optimistic as we all have been, including the supporting Whangarei District Council, it was clear any decision we made to run would be met with unknown challenges – particularly around the international border control,” he commented.
“Being an international event, a big reason the Whangarei District Council is so supportive is the coverage they get on the world stage and economic benefit from having offshore guests in the region.
“We hoped the Trans-Tasman bubble may have opened some opportunity to bring new people to the region however that is clearly a long way off from happening.”
A provisional date of 14 to 16 May 2021 has been set as a return to action on the roads around the Whangarei region.
Focus now shifts to the Rally New Zealand organised double-header event planned for November.
The City of Auckland Rally will be held on Saturday 14 November and include stages in the Kaipara Hills, Puhoi and Riverhead Forest before its conclusion at the purpose-built road ‘Jack’s Ridge’ in Whitford.
On Sunday 15 November Jack’s Ridge will be used as a standalone rally sprint.
Media release by International Rally of Whangarei