Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez is "going with the flow" on his decision-making for the staging of Canberra's major street machine summer event and like many other private promoters is waiting to see how the current Covid outbreak in NSW unfolds in the weeks ahead.
Mr Lopez flew into Darwin on Tuesday, a day ahead of the Northern Territory locking down its border to NSW. Anyone who arrives in the NT from anywhere in NSW after 5pm Wednesday has to quarantine for 14 days.
Mr Lopez and his team are now based out of Darwin until his next big event, the Red Centre Nats in September.
"We read the tea leaves on what was being discussed [on the NSW border closure] and decided to get across to the NT sooner rather than later," he said.
"Turns out it was a pretty good decision."
September's Red Centre Nats in Alice Springs is yet another spin-off from Canberra's Summernats, the event which local entrepreneur Chic Henry brought to the ACT 33 years ago.
Entries are not yet open for Summernats 34, which has a scheduled start date of January 6 next year.
Like other major spring/summer events such as Enlighten, Floriade, Skyfire and the Royal Canberra Show, Summernats 2021 was cancelled because of the difficult Covid protocols for managing a large number of visitors, compounded by uncertainty around access to Exhibition Park, which was used as a Covid testing facility.
Another smaller Canberra-based event, the Rare Spares Rev Rock'n'Roll, was then announced for March but it, too, was cancelled.
But with Queensland safely out of the Covid firing line, the Rocky Nats based in the northern Queensland city over Easter proved a major success for the organisers with around 1500 entrants.
He said the event injected an estimated $20 million into the local Rockhampton economy.
Mr Lopez said that he would be missing around eight of his organising staff for the Alice Springs event.
"The one thing this whole experience has taught me over the last 15 to 18 months is that you have to go with the flow and not look too far ahead," he said.
The one thing this whole experience has taught me over the last 15 to 18 months is that you have to go with the flow and not look too far aheadSummernats co-owner Andy Lopez
"The good thing about Summernats is that it is such a well-oiled machine. We are remaining optimistic that this [NSW Covid] lockdown will resolve itself."
He said the call on whether to go ahead with the Canberra event is still 6 to 8 weeks away.
All pre-purchased tickets to the 2021 event have been rolled into 2022,
In 2020, Summernats delivered an economic impact to the territory of $29.7 million, with about 85 per cent of visitors coming from interstate.
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