The new pedestrian bridge at The Bend Motorsport Park. Picture: Ross Gibb
A lack of government support is behind South Australian motorsport fans having minimal top-level events to look forward to in 2022.
A glaring trend emerged last week as a flurry of calendars for next year dropped.
Surprisingly, one of the newest and most state-of-the-art facilities in The Bend Motorsport Park was a key omission from calendar after calendar.
While it will host Round 2 of the TA2 Muscle Car Series on April 22-24, and has now belatedly been added to the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship schedule in the heart of winter, it has largely missed out on the Australian Racing Group’s suite of categories.
That includes the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, both the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship and S5000 Tasman Series, Touring Car Masters, and the Turtle Wax Trans Am Series.
The Bend was also missing from the first cluster of events announced for the 2022 Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships, although more rounds are still to be added there.
Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca said efforts to work with the South Australian Government had fallen on deaf ears thus far.
It comes in the same term that the Steven Marshall-led Liberal state government brought about the Adelaide 500’s demise.
“We’ve worked closely with governments around Australia and have enjoyed strong support for many different events and disciplines,” Arocca told Speedcafe.com last week.
“New research highlights that motorsport is an economic powerhouse, when you consider all the local impacts high profile events can have on a region.
“We are pleased the majority of governments around Australia see the benefit of supporting these events and the benefits those regions will enjoy in 2022.
“A recent Ernst & Young report found that in 2019, South Australian motorsport activities contributed a gross output of $290 million to the state’s economy for the year and supported 1586 direct jobs.
“Without the ongoing support of motorsport events from the South Australian government, the state risks losing that important economic activity.
“Any funding received for events like the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships is modest, but it goes a long way in helping bring more people to their regions to take part in events, including teams, competitors, officials and fans.
“When it comes to events we run and promote, the full 2022 calendar is yet to be finalised for the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships, and we are hopeful we may still yet be able to schedule a round at the impressive facilities at The Bend, however we have made several attempts to engage with the SA Government to bring high profile events to Tailem Bend without success.”
In terms of off-road motorsport, South Australia will host a pair of events in 2022 as part of the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship in July, and the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship in October.