MOTOR racing fans who are locked out of this year's Bathurst 1000 will be urged to have barbecue at home with up to 20 mates while watching the Great Race unfold on television.
Mayor Bobby Bourke says he'd love to see Bathurst Barbies held right across the city - and the nation - after the NSW Government signed off on a COVID-safe plan that will allow just 4000 fans a day onto Mount Panorama.
Camping on the Mount has also been banned for this year.
Cr Bourke said the restrictions meant it would be a very different Bathurst 1000 this year, but he urged race fans to still make a day of it.
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"You can have up to 20 people at your home so I'm encouraging people to support local butchers, throw a barbecue at home and enjoy the Bathurst 1000 on TV in your lounge room or man cave," he said.
"The lower crowd numbers will be disappointing for many Bathurst businesses that rely on the Bathurst 1000 each year, but it's just something we all have to get through."
The pandemic will also impact off-track events for this year's race, with no Pantech parade down William Street, no driver signing on Russell Street and no Saturday street party for young families.
"There won't be the same excitement in town but hopefully we get an exciting race to make up for it," Cr Bourke said.
The few tickets available for this next month's Bathurst 1000 will first be offered to fans who had already bought tickets before sales were suspended last month.
Existing ticket holders will have access to a 24-hour pre-sale window which begins at 12pm on Tuesday, September 22 and the entire allocation is expected to be quickly snapped up.
Reserved seating will only be available at the bottom of the Mountain at Murray's Corner, Hell Corner, Pit Straight East and Pit Straight West, with no fans allowed at the top of the Mount this year.
Race organisers have resisted limiting ticket sales only to residents of the Central West despite some lingering concerns within the Bathurst community over the potential for race fans from hotspot areas to bring COVID-19 to the region.
Supercars last week presented its COVID-safe plan to key stakeholders including Bathurst Regional Council, emergency services and health authorities.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer thanked council and the NSW Government for their support in preparing the plan.
"Whilst we are disappointed that we can't have a full crowd at Bathurst, we're delighted to offer even limited attendance," Mr Seamer said.
"A race track like Mount Panorama is not as easy as a stadium to prepare in a COVID-19 compliant way due to the lack of dedicated seating."
Quality, not quantity
STRICT crowd limits might mean fewer race fans in town for this year's Bathurst 1000, but Bathurst Business Chamber president Catherine Fitzsimons can still find a silver lining for struggling businesses.
A ban on camping will push thousands of race fans into local hotels and motels for their overnight stays and will force them into the main shopping centre to spend their money in local shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.
"The one good thing is that those 4000 fans will be high-value people coming to the town and more likely to be eating out and shopping in town rather staying up on the Mount," Ms Fitzsimons said.
"All our eateries are already set up for socially distant dining and while it will be a busy weekend in town, as long as we keep up our hand sanitising and social distancing I think we can get some benefit and do it in a safe manner."
Key ticketing details
- Up to 4000 reserved seating tickets will be available per day of the October 15-18 event.
- Reserved seating only available at the bottom of Mount Panorama.
- No public camping.
- No access to paddock area/back of garages throughout event for patrons.
- No autograph sessions with drivers.
- No access to top of the Mountain.
- Existing ticket holders will be given two options; either roll over their 2020 ticket which will be valid for the 2021 event or request a refund as per the normal Ticketek refund process.
- Existing ticket holders will be offered an exclusive pre-sale window to purchase reserved seating tickets to the newly designated areas from 12pm on Tuesday, September 22.
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