THIS weekend’s Newton’s Nation event could be the start of a beautiful relationship, or the final chapter in a messy divorce.
Skateboarders from around the world are expected in Bathurst this weekend to compete in a round of the International Downhill Federation’s World Cup.
These skaters are the best of the best – thrill-seekers who travel the globe seeking to satisfy their need for speed.
And they’re in Bathurst for one reason and one reason only – Mount Panorama.
The famous race circuit has proven as much of a lure to skaters as it is to racing car drivers around the world, competitors who want to test themselves against the toughest conditions.
But this weekend’s World Cup round very nearly didn’t happen, and certainly would not have happened if the senior staff at Bathurst Regional Council had their way.
The Australian Skateboard Racing Association’s initial request to hold the event on Mount Panorama received the cold shoulder from council staff who recommended councillors vote against it.
They cited the difficulties they experienced working with the organisers of a previous incarnation of Newton’s Nation almost a decade ago as reason enough not to have them back, and also raised questions about just how much the city was likely to gain from having the event here.
Skateboarding is clearly a much lower-budget sport than motor racing and staff predicted any economic boost from having the World Cup here would not be significant.
Fortunately for ASRA, Bathurst’s councillors saw it differently.
Cr Warren Aubin was the greatest advocate for the event and urged his colleagues to forget the past and instead imagine the bright future this event could have.
He said council was dealing with a different management group today than the one it had problems with almost a decade ago and they deserved a chance to make Newton’s Nation a success. And so here we are.
The skateboarding fraternity needs this weekend to run smoothly if they have any hope of coming back again next year.
And the Bathurst community should be hoping that they can make it work, because there are benefits to both sides of the debate if Newton’s Nation is a success.
A World Cup event brings international exposure to the circuit and our city and that can only be a good thing for Bathurst.
Let’s hope it’s all downhill from here.