Round five of the 2021 Australian Superbike Championship has become another casualty of the COVID-19 outbreaks in NSW.
In what ASBK management team described as a "difficult but necessary" decision, the event was called off in a statement released last Thursday.
"In response to the continuing lockdowns and border restrictions across Australia, the ASBK Management Team has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel round five Australian Superbike Championship," the ASBK said.
"The ASBK Management Team has maintained its commitment to creating the very best championship for its riders, teams, volunteers, fans and partners during the difficult time. A decision like this today is a tough blow to the championship which has produced edge of your seat racing in the early parts of 2021."
The round was scheduled to take place at Wakefield Park from October 15 to October 17, in what would have been the second ASBK event to take place in Goulburn for the year.
Wakefield Park operations manager, Dean Chapman, was unsurprised by the cancellation.
"It didn't come as a shock," Chapman said.
"Any cancellation of an event of that type is a disappointment. I think our events are built strongly around spectators being able to attend, and although we were able to have an event late last year with no spectators, the one we had earlier this year just cemented the reason why Wakefield Park is a fantastic spectator venue.
"We had record crowds come through the gates, and the ASBK loved it. They had an event which was a major drawcard for the local community just south of Sydney."
Despite his disappointment, Chapman agreed with the ASBK's call.
"The decision taken by ASBK Management is one we support. The competitors and the spectators deserve a clear direction and I believe that this announcement achieves that," he said.
The loss of the ASBK round is another in a long list of financial blows Wakefield Park has taken this year.
The postponement or outright cancellation of all events in the near future has left the venue without its primary source of income, which has been particularly crucial during its current NSW Land and Environment Court appeal.
"We haven't just been hit by COVID," Chapman said.
"We've also got our battle in the Land and Environment Court regarding our Development Application as well. That's the battle to keep Wakefield Park as a workable business moving forward.
"We were prepared and ready to invest in this 12 months ago. The money that we're losing due to COVID, but more importantly the court proceedings, is chewing up a lot of what was going to be used to build a strong future for Wakefield Park moving forward."
Despite its current struggles, Chapman is confident Wakefield Park will be ready to open back up as soon as the current coronavirus restrictions have been sufficiently eased.
"At the moment, there's very little going on," he said.
"But once the restrictions lift and we can grab people from Sydney and Canberra, we'll be ready to go. The important thing to remember is, even if it's only regional NSW that does open, it's going to be hard to attract enough customers to keep the doors open.
"So we just hope that when regional NSW does open, Sydney opens or Canberra follows suit and opens as well."
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