This month’s Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships event at The Bend Motorsport Park will have a reduced capacity, with the round to instead run as a one-day event.
Following South Australia’s latest border restrictions announcement and the withdrawal of multiple categories, Motorsport Australia has had to reformat the meeting to the Shannons Motorsport Australia Festival, which will run similar to the Shannons round held at Sandown last December.
Categories that have withdrawn from the event include the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia, Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia, National Sports Sedans Series and the MRF Tyres Australian Production Cars Series, as well as Victorian State Series Porsche 944 Challenge Australia.
Categories will include the South Australian based Hyundai Excel Challenge and Sports Car Invitational, while more local series may be added to the bill.
The event will also feature the GT Festival, an amazing display of GT cars from the ‘50s to current day including everything from a 1954 Jensen 541, a 1972 Lamborghini Miura, through to a 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
On the Sunday morning The Bend will be hosting a Coffee & Cruise for all comers to try their hand at cruising the 7.77km GT Circuit, the longest circuit in the Southern hemisphere with 35 turns. The circuit has played host to the Asian Le Mans Series and Australian GT Championship.
Fans who had already purchased tickets to attend the round can be refunded if they can longer attend the event, with refunds to be available in the coming days.
Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport and Commercial Operations Michael Smith was disappointed the event was reformatted due to the border restrictions.
“Unfortunately, many competitors and teams need to travel from interstate, particularly from NSW and Victoria. Given the extended travel time required for testing and waiting on the results of those tests, it meant the event was not feasible in its original capacity,” Smith said.
“It’s not only disappointing for motorsport fans, teams and drivers, but also for the South Australian and Tailem Bend community, with the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships always bringing many people into the regions they visit.
“Of course, I’d like to thank the team at The Bend Motorsport Park for their co-operation and support in planning this event over recent months, as well as their desire to hold the event despite it no longer being a national round.
“I’d also like to thank our loyal partners, most notably our naming rights partner Shannons Insurance, for their ongoing support through a difficult two years.
“We look forward to seeing some grassroots categories running under the Shannons banner and we’re also excited for what should be a big year in 2022 when there is some more stability around the nation.”
The Bend Motorsport Park owner Sam Shahin echoed Smith’s comments but remained optimistic about a good event.
“We feel for the competitors and fans alike who were looking forward to the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships, however the reformatted event will be a fantastic way for car lovers and families to start the school holidays to enjoy the racing action and see some very rare machinery on display.
“We’re confident the Excels and Sports Cars running as part of the now Shannons Motorsport Australia Festival will provide quite the show for fans.”
A bumper 2022 Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships calendar will be released in the coming weeks.
The Shannons Motorsport Australia Festival will take place at The Bend Motorsport Park on Saturday 11 December.