Bathurst 1000 date drama for Supercars

The revised Bathurst 1000 date has sparked drama due to claims of an exclusion period in a contract held by Challenge Bathurst organisers.

According to this organisers, the contract for the Challenge Bathurst sprint and regularity event with the Bathurst Regional Council includes a two-week exclusion period prior to the nominated event.

That means no other events that require a full closure of the Mount Panorama road, of which only five are permitted each year, can take place within a fortnight of Challenge Bathurst – scheduled to take place on November 11-17.

However with the Bathurst 1000 shifted to November 4-7 in the hopes that the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney will subside, that exclusion period is now being encroached upon.

That's sparked conflict between Supercars and Challenge Bathurst organisers who are now at odds over the November double-header.

Supercars is adamant that it formed an agreement that satisfied both the Bathurst Regional Council and Challenge Bathurst organisers before announcing the new date.

According to a statement from Supercars that also included compensation to Challenge Bathurst organisers.

"The agreement for Challenge Bathurst is held by the Bathurst Regional Council, and therefore this is a matter for them to resolve given they had agreed to both events," read the statement.

"Alternative dates were part of a broad discussion, that included support for, and compensation to, the organisers of Challenge Bathurst, but the weekend that was proposed (October 28-31) would have created a back-to-back event with Phillip Island which is not feasible when teams need to prepare for the biggest event on the annual motorsport calendar.

"Supercars has yet to receive any operational evidence suggesting that both events can’t coexist on the nominated dates. At all times, Supercars has remained open to discussion and negotiation with all parties."

Challenge Bathurst, however, is equally bullish regarding its agreement with the Bathurst Regional Council.

A statement from the event says there is no way the Bathurst 1000 will go ahead on that November date.

Event boss Greg Evans also communicated to Motorsport.com that there was never an agreement over compensation.

"The event management of Challenge Bathurst has received a written confirmation from the Bathurst Regional Council stating that the Supercars advertised dates of the Repco Bathurst 1000 directly conflict with the holding of the Challenge Bathurst Event in November," read the statement.

"The issue is not that both events are on the same weekend, with the Challenge Bathurst dates being 11 to 17 November. The proposed dates of 4 to 7 November for the Bathurst 1000 do not allow for a full track closure and clean circuit two weeks before the Challenge Bathurst event so it can be staged in accordance with the agreement with the Bathurst Regional Council.

"Challenge Bathurst has made attempts to offer dates to Supercars that are not in conflict with existing motorsport events contracted to use the Mount Panorama racing circuit in November 2021.

"After Supercars published the dates on July 30, Challenge Bathurst confirmed with Supercars on July 31 that the event will not be staged on the weekend being advertised.

"In an attempt to assist Supercars in their efforts to reschedule their calendar, Challenge Bathurst offered to consent to the Bathurst 1000 event to proceed one week earlier on 28 to 31 October.

"Challenge Bathurst has unequivocally communicated to Supercars that it considers that no event should be permitted to be held over the period 4 to 7 November 2021."

The Bathurst Regional Council has now responded to the matter. 

Should all events go ahead as planned November will be a busy month at Mount Panorama, with the Bathurst International set to go ahead on November 26-28.

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