Financial Fallout From Cancelled Events - What Do You Reckon 438

By: Glenn Torrens

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Like all of us, car nut Glenn Torrens has to come to terms with shit getting real

This virus can just **** right off. I’ve just spent a few hours each day for a few weeks getting my salt-lake racer VW Beetle ready for the annual Australian Speed Week event held on the dry-salt surface of Lake Gairdner in outback South Australia… but Speed Week was cancelled.

So, my little yellow Bug stays in the garage: There’s no awesome outback trek for me this year; no relaxing two-days-each-way road trip; no gazing at the expanse of cloudless blue sky meeting the horizon of rich red dirt; no camping nor sharing relaxing sunset beers with fellow racers and mates Morley, Boris, Davo, Parker and Steve during a great week of Livin’ The Dream with Australia’s fastest cars.

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To prepare for this year’s event, I’ve spent maybe $1500 on a fire-system recharge, new tyres, 40 litres of race fuel, the event entry fee and some dyno time for my racer VW’s fresh engine. My Speed Week entry fee will be valid for next time… and I didn’t waste two days and another $1000 or so towing my race car half-way across Australia. I get to stay at home (I usually work from home) living life more or less normally with nothing more to sook about than some extra spare time for the next week. And no matter what, my efforts and dollars have not been wasted: My VW is prepped, ready and waiting for the next event so I haven’t actually lost much money.

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Other participants have shipped cars from overseas and flown here to compete… and on landing in Oz, were compelled to a 14-day quarantine. No racing, no sightseeing, no nothing. All they can do is wait the time then ship their race cars back to California or Sweden or wherever without turning a wheel on the salt of Lake Gairdner. And then pay the bill.

Another terrific event: Street Machine magazine’s Drag Challenge: cancelled. Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival in NSW’s Hunter Valley: cancelled. The Hot Rod Nationals in Goulburn NSW: cancelled. Mad Max celebration… Running On Empty drive-in night… cancelled. Every cars-and-coffee or cruise event I know of for the next few months… cancelled. As I write this, a few days after the Melbourne F1 termination that elevated the situation into every car enthusiasts’ realm, CANCELLED has ricocheted around our scene like terrorists’ gunfire. And that’s just the car scene.

Around these events is a big number of businesses – from pubs to motels to supermarkets to parts shops to detailers to coffee vans – that won’t be seeing the cash we splash when we attend all these terrific events. Plus, being a car magazine dude means I am paid to attend and write about some of these events.

So, yes, I’ll be down a few bucks. But the Dry Lakes crew – a small club with one event per year – now has a truckload of ‘30th Anniversary 1990-2020’ souvenir T-shirts and stubby holders that were to have been sold at Speed Week to help finance the event. But I will never forget hearing a girl interviewed on Triple J Radio as I spannered on my race car (prior to Speed Week’s cancellation) crying her heart out as she spoke of the $60,000 worth of fresh tucker she was to have sold from her food van at the Formula One weekend in Melbourne.

Two weeks ago we were all laughing at pics of Toyota Coronas and Car-Owner Virus memes on Facebook. But it’s not so funny now.

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