Council endorses sponsorship for Racewars event

Published: Wednesday, 4 September 2019 at 10:27:19 AM

Racewars Sprint_Ash Westwood

A major runway-racing event that has injected more than $10 million into the local economy since it began in 2017 is a step closer to continuing after Council endorsed offering them a 3-year sponsorship deal.

The City of Albany would provide $35,000 cash plus in-kind sponsorship annually for the next three Racewars events if accepted, following an extensive review of the event’s safety, risk and finances.

Held on the March long weekend, Racewars transforms Albany Airport’s runway into a controlled race strip for streetcars, and included a new sprint event at Middleton Beach this year.

Sadly, the event was engulfed in tragedy when young racer Brody Ford lost his life from a crash at the airport this year, raising questions about the future of the event.

Mayor Dennis Wellington said Brody’s death had touched everyone involved and prompted Racewars organisers to take a closer look at the event.

“Racewars has been a fantastic event for Albany, it’s very unique and incredibly popular, but we don’t want to see people losing their life, so that was a very difficult thing for all to cope with,” he said.

“We’ve been very supportive of Racewars and know they’ve put a lot of sweat and tears into this event with a high priority on safety.

“After what happened we needed to allow the event organisers to go through a process to review things, have a look at what they can do to make things safer and ways they can ensure they can make the event work.

“They’ve done that and presented us with a business case as we asked, we’ve consulted with our insurers around the event, and all things added up we’re now in a position to offer Racewars sponsorship going forward.”

Mayor Dennis Wellington said it was up to Racewars whether they accepted the offer or not.

“We’re sponsors only, it’s like any other event that comes to town, they own it and run it and we just give it a kick along with some financial support,” he said.

“So it’s the responsibility of the event organisers to get things right and make sure they can run a safe event, and they’ll still have a few boxes to tick along the way to ensure the event can proceed, including getting an event approval.”

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