Sunraysia is about to play host to the region’s largest annual event, the Hattah Desert Race, attracting competitors and support crews from the length and breadth of the country.
Councillor for Recreation and Events Mark Eckel welcomed all visiting competitors to the region ahead of the big event this weekend, which now injects more than $3 million into the local economy.
“The Hattah Desert Race is an absolute juggernaut in terms of major events, this year attracting 465 senior riders and 360 juniors – that’s well over 800 in total,” Cr Eckel said.
“And it’s not just the sheer number of riders that is impressive, it’s the calibre of riders this event continues to attract year after year, who are the very best in Australian off-road racing.
“We also need to remember that each of the more than 800 competitors will have a support crew with them, so you could conservatively double or triple that figure in terms of the number of people involved across the junior and senior races.
“And many of the visiting riders will have arrived here a few days early to acclimatise themselves to the local conditions, which further adds to the economic benefit through spending on accommodation, hospitality and retail.”
The Hattah Desert Race weekend kicks off at 3pm this Friday with scrutineering and meet-and-greet at Red Cliffs’ Quandong Park, providing a chance for the public to meet all the riders and check out their race bikes.
The weekend’s on-track action starts on Saturday morning at 8am with the Junior Prologue.
The senior Hattah Desert Race starts from 9am Sunday.
Cr Eckel encouraged the community to experience what is recognised as Australia’s largest annual desert race.
“For those who’ve never been out to experience the Hattah Desert Race, it really is something special,” he said.
“The sheer scale of the event, the atmosphere, and the unique mass-start of the senior race on Sunday morning is unique to this event and our region.”
Cr Eckel congratulated the North West Victorian Motorcycle Club’s dedicated members for creating, building and continuing to run such a large and successful event for well over 20 years.
“We’re proud to support the Hattah Desert Race again this year with $50,000 from our Events Funding and Support Grants program, but the real work, and the real thanks need to go to the tireless efforts of the North West Victorian Motorcycle Club members,” he said.
Cr Eckel said evidence of the popularity of the event was the fact entries sold-out in just 27 seconds after opening online, which is another record for the event.
Hattah Desert Race Co-ordinator Jenni Gledhill said the club was proud of the race’s place on the region’s annual major events calendar.
“While our focus is obviously to continue to run an event that riders, support crews and spectators enjoy, it’s great to see the economic boost the Hattah Desert Race brings to Mildura and surrounding areas,” Jenni said.
“I hope local businesses once again enjoy additional patronage this weekend, and that everyone involved in the event has an absolute blast.
“I’d also like to thank Mildura Rural City Council and its Events Unit for their ongoing support for our event over numerous years.”
Spectator tickets are available online only by visiting hattahdesertrace.com.au . Updates and more information is also available the Hattah Desert Race Facebook page.