The hiss and roar of motorbikes heading south for the annual Burt Munro Challenge has been cancelled for the first time in its 15-year history.
The committee running the event that was due to take place in February next year says it was a “tough decision to cancel.”
“We’re absolutely gutted that it’s come to this but with a nationally significant event of this magnitude, it’s the right thing to do,” chairman Craig Hyde said.
The organisers said uncertainty around the Government’s new Covid-19 Protection Framework or Traffic Light System made it difficult to plan ahead.
“It doesn’t guarantee competitors and spectators will be able to travel from out of [the] region to the event.
"We also foresee changes will be required in some of our management systems including ticketing, registration, security, and include alterations to infrastructure.”
The now-summer event is a major drawcard for Southland which usually sees petrol heads from here and overseas make their way south for it.
The committee did consider reducing the size of the event or postponing the challenge until a later date, but cancelling was seen as the only option.
“It’s a huge loss. We can only hope we get back to some kind of normality in the next year, and the event will return in full swing in 2023.”
It’s not the only large-scale event to be canned or postponed.
The Queenstown Marathon was forced to postpone due to the Covid restrictions which usually brings in thousands of competitors and spectators every year.
The race was due to take place next month but has since been pushed out to March 19, 2022.
Alexandra’s famous Blossom Festival in Central Otago was also cancelled, a decision organisers said was “not made lightly”.