Tourism WA has been informed by that the organisers of the Red Bull Air Race that all stages of the 2011 championship have been cancelled, leaving the future of the event in doubt.
According to a report by Fairfax media, which quoted Perth event director Drew Searle, the decision was made two days ago to allow for the implementation of new safety measures. “We have a bunch of projects that are very close to fruition,” he said. “What we don’t want to do is have race pilots changing their whole aeroplane mid-season because that would be crazy, especially if you had 15 teams doing it at once.”
Safety has been a concern during the current championship, with Brazilian pilot Adilson Kindlemann plunging into the Swan River during a practice run for the Perth leg of the competition. Australian pilot Matt Hall also had a close call during the Windsor leg of the Air Race in June when his MXS-R stalled and a wing contacted the water, and forced him to sit out the following race in New York.
The cancellation leaves in doubt the likelihood of the race returning to Perth in 2012, which is currently the final year the event is contracted to run in the WA capital. The Victorian government has indicated that it will launch a bid to host the Australian round of the Air Race in Geelong from 2013, while the New South Wales government has said that it would like to bring the event to Sydney.