The 2020 season has been one of the most challenging ever faced by the Australian motorsport industry.
The obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, including state border closures, social distancing restrictions and limits on the maximum numbers of people able to attend events, significantly increased the burden on event staff, volunteers and the racers themselves.
Despite the obstacles, the AASA was proud to play its part in sustaining the industry by sanctioning a variety of events across multiple disciplines including circuit racing, off-road and tarmac rally.
The fact these events were able to go ahead was down to the sheer determination of passionate enthusiasts, including hard-working event promoters, dedicated officials and competitors who overcame numerous hurdles to get back on track.
After motorsport activities ground virtually to a standstill in mid-March, the AASA sanctioned the MRA (Motor Racing Australia) “COVID-Comeback” race meeting on 13 June. The event featured popular NSW categories including Super TT, Pulsars, Mazda MX5/RX8 Cup and Series X3 NSW (Excels).
In a demonstration of the raw enthusiasm of drivers to go racing again, the one-hour Excel endurance race even attracted Supercars stars Anton De Pasquale, Brodie Kostecki and Broc Feeney, with Triple 8 boss Roland Dane on the ground as team manager!
At a national level, the AASA-sanctioned AMRS was also able to continue, although border closures meant the Sydney Motorsport Park, Queensland Raceway and Sandown rounds were predominantly attended by state-based categories.
The AASA has become a prominent sanctioning body in the off-road scene in recent years and this trend continued in 2020, AORRA (Australian Off Road Racing Association) events such as August’s Goondiwindi 400, which was contested by none other than international legend Toby Price.
Price thoroughly enjoyed his participation in the Gundy 400, winning his class and finishing fourth outright.
Another area of recent AASA growth has been in performance events such as burnout competitions and drifting.
The AASA was able to sanction the return of drifting to Tasmania through the Drift Tasmania Series, run by the Performance Driving Australia organisation. The series began in late August and its immediate popularity saw the event organisers running two further rounds, much to the delight of both competitors and spectators.
The AASA-sanctioned Australian Tarmac Rally Championship underwent a change of management in 2020, long-time organiser Peter Washington and his Mountain Motorsports company handing control of the series to Pam Stables, Brittany Smith and their Australian Tarmac Rally business.
Despite many of the scheduled 2020 events being cancelled, Stables and Smith were able to run the Great Tarmac Rally event in December, setting the scene for a full championship in 2021.
The AASA thanks the positive efforts and enthusiasm of all our Motorsport Venue partners. In particular our growing Speedway partners as well as our Karting event partnerships.
AASA business manager Stephen Whyte acknowledged the team’s efforts throughout the year.
The direction and support from our BAC Group CEO Chris Lewis-Williams was a most important factor in navigating the COVID-safe management of the business this year,” Stephen said.
“I would like to thank not only our small but efficient staff team at AASA, but also our advisory group including our Chairman Bruce Robertson, Chief Steward Gary Gourlay and the Benalla Auto Club committee.
“2021 will again be full of challenges but we are in a stronger position than ever to continue offering choice to our motorsport community”.
The AASA is most grateful to all our event promoters and competitors for their patience and understanding throughout such a turbulent season. We’re also thankful to the many volunteer officials who continue to support our events and ensure our competitors can enjoy the thrill of the action across all different disciplines
We’re proud of the “never-give-up” attitude exhibited by many of our event organisers and promoters, who have pursued every avenue to ensure events have been able to continue, sustaining the sport we all love.
Our office is closed until Wednesday, 6 January but if you have any enquiries in the meantime, please contact us via email at [email protected].
We hope all our event organisers, officials and competitors have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2021!