The Australasian Safari is (was) an absolutely epic seven day off-road navigation rally spanning some of Australia's meanest terrain. It was one of the only major multi-day challenges available to enthusiasts Down Under, and this year's event will be the last.
I had the chance to be a part of the phenomenon in 2011, and knowing just how much the race means to so many off-roaders in Australia and around the world makes hearing about the event's demise properly painful.
But it looks like the Australasian Safari just costing more cash than it was pulling in. I hope the loss of the race isn't a signal that accessible, extreme racing isn't disappearing but it's hard to see it any other way.
Here's the official statement from the organizing company's president Justin Hunt:
25th June 2014, Statement from the Event Director: [sic/Australian spellings]
The last one – Australasian Safari 2014
After seven years in Western Australia, it's with a heavy heart that we wish to advise the 2014 Australasian Safari will be the last one held in Western Australia.
My company Australian Safari Pty Ltd has a contract with Tourism Western Australia. The contract contains the option for TWA to extend the current agreement for a further three years (2015 to 2017). TWA has declined to take up this option in the current climate.
In these tough economic conditions, it is fair to say we have done a very good job running an international level motorsport event. However, the anticipated growth in competitor numbers and external commercial support has not been realised.
After working very hard for a number of years, we haven't been able to significantly increase the size and media impact of the event to justify the investment.
Tourism Western Australia has been a wonderful partner. Whilst I am devastated, I respect their decision and give my commitment to my stakeholders, sponsors and the competitors that Safari 2014 will be an amazing experience.
I would like to thank my team in my office, the 2014 Organising Committee and our volunteer officials who have been so supportive of our ambitions.
The 2014 Australasian Safari will run as planned and will be a celebration of a motorsport icon that it truly is.
Justin Hunt, Event Director
Image: Andrew Collins