A number of entrants have pulled out of the 2022 Outback Air Race after the 2021 event was postponed, making way for new entrants to join in.
The organisers of the event, and its major sponsor The Lottery Office, are now encouraging new teams to get involved in the race, which will take place from 29 August – 11 September 2022.
The 2021 Air Race was cancelled in light of rising COVID cases at that time, with entrants given the chance to withdraw and receive a full refund, or instead roll their entry over to the 2022 event.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, a couple of teams have had to pull out so we now have a couple of slots available, would be great to fill these in the next couple of weeks,” the organisers said.
“Tell your friends or split your teams and bring another plane along!
“It isn’t too late for people to get organised, book their accommodation and start the fundraising, so please spread the word quickly so that they can get into the swing of things.”
The remaining slots are likely to be filled quickly, as the organisers previously revealed that within two weeks of opening registrations for the 2021 event, the race was already fully subscribed. Registrations for the 2021 event saw teams that spanned across Western Australia, ACT, NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
The Outback Air Race raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and has garnered more than $3.1 million in donations since its foundation in 1996.
Each year, the Royal Flying Doctor Service helps over 370,000 patients, conducts 18,000 remote clinics and flies over 27 million kilometres per year. The RFDS has been operating for more than 92 years.
The race itself sees 100 competitors fly a total of 3,800 kilometres across three different states. This year’s 13-day event will culminate in a finale at Coffs Harbour on 11 September.
Other locations include Darwin to Cooinda, Adels Grove, Karumba, Undara, Shute Harbour, Gladstone, Roma and Goondiwindi.
Speaking earlier of the postponement, race manager Stuart Payne said, “We are still seeing ongoing imposition of lockdowns and other restrictions in response to COVID related risks.
“For an event such as ours, held in remote areas with accommodation booked in specific places for only specific dates, any delays associated with travel restrictions would result in the need to cancel the event, and substantial inconvenience and unbudgeted costs for participants and the event.
“Our committee has decided that our ability to manage these risks in the current environment is just too compromised to allow us to responsibly continue per our original schedule.”