Bitterly cold conditions have unfortunately seen the weekend’s Desert Nationals event at Alice Springs Inland Dragway abandoned part-way through the first round of qualifying.
The event – the second of the NDRC Western Conference for the 2023/2024 season – was scheduled to run across Saturday July 22 and Sunday July 23, hosting racing for Junior Dragster, Super Street, Modified Bike, Super Sedan, Modified, Top Sportsman, Competition Bike and Supercharged Outlaws competitors.
Temperatures hit just one degree overnight on Friday, with racers and track officials greeted by persistently low temperatures on Saturday morning ahead of the scheduled 11.00am start.
While qualifying ultimately began at 12.30pm to allow time for ambient temperatures to increase and for extra track preparations to be undertaken, it was soon evident that conditions were too unsafe to continue, with track staff unable to get and keep the necessary heat in the track.
Adding insult to injury, the forecast conditions for Sunday were for even colder conditions, meaning the possibility of trying to complete racing on day two was not an option.
“The entire Central Australian Drag Racing Association (CADRA) committee is absolutely devastated that this decision has had to be made, but at the end of the day, safety must always come first,” Desert Nationals Meeting Director, Tim Reidy, said at the time of announcing the cancellation.
“The Committee has worked tirelessly for months in preparation for this event, and the team have done absolutely everything they can and exhausted all possible strategies and resources available in trying to ensure a safe track surface despite the persisting cold temperatures.
“This decision has absolutely not been made lightly, and we thank the racers, and all involved in this event for their support in this exceptionally tough situation.”
In a statement announcing the cancellation, the Australian National Drag Racing Association thanked Reidy, the CADRA committee and all of the event volunteers and officials for their commitment to the event, while also thanking the racers for their support of the Desert Nationals and their understanding of the difficult decision to cancel.
“No one ever wants to see events cancelled, but unfortunately despite the best efforts of everyone involved, it is unavoidable in this case,” ANDRA Chief Executive Officer, Tim McAvaney, said.
The NDRC Western Conference points chase will now head to Mildura’s Sunset Strip for the Sunset Nationals (part of the NDRC Western Conference) across September 16 and 17. For event info and entries, go to www.sunsetstrip.org.au
In the meantime, the Aeroflow Sportsman Eastern Conference will fire up at Springmount Raceway on the 18th and 19th of August, with competitor entries for that event open now at www.ndrc.tv
Image credit: Amber Simms Photography