THE 2021 Bathurst 1000 has been marked by thrills, spills and false starts - and that's before we've even made it to the starting grid.
Supercars announced on Wednesday morning another revised plan for the Great Race, and another date for the event.
First the race was to return to its traditional date in October; next it was to be held in November; and now Bathurst residents can look forward to a six-day motorsport festival running from Tuesday, November 30 through to Sunday, December 5 - the first time the race has been run so late in the year.
It has required an extraordinary logistical effort to continually redraw these schedules but that is the unfortunate reality of trying to run a national series of races in a time of COVID-19 restrictions and border closures.
As it now stands, Bathurst Regional Council, Repco, Supercars and ARG have joined forces to put on what is already being billed as "the biggest motorsport event ever staged in Australia".
The latest plan will again see the cancellation of the inaugural Bathurst International but the expanded Great Race program means that each of the categories listed for that event can be included as part of the Bathurst 1000 festival.
As well as the Supercars' Bathurst 1000, the event will include the Super2 Series, Porsche Carrera Cup, Toyota 86 Series, TCR Australia, Touring Car Masters, the Mount Panorama debut of the open-wheeler S5000 cars, the GT World Challenge Australia, V8 SuperUtes and Trans Am category.
So what we are being promised is an extravaganza for motorsport fans and, hopefully, a much-needed boost for local hospitality businesses.
There are still no guarantees of what life will look like in late November but the state government is determined to push ahead with a significant relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions once we hit the magical 70 per cent and 80 per cent double-dosed vaccination targets.
On current projections we should pass 80 per cent some time in November and that should be good news for racing fans, local pubs, clubs, restaurants, motels and hotels.
The work that has gone into ensuring the Bathurst 1000 goes ahead this year is again testament to what the event means to both Supercars and to the Bathurst region.
Organisers have adopted a "whatever it takes" attitude and the result could be the biggest Bathurst 1000 of all. Bring it on.