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Air Race representative Mr Reynolds said the $2.5 million needed was a small price to pay to put WA on the map.

Air Race World Championships out the window

PERTH Hills local and aerobatic pilot Warren Reynolds says he will continue to push to bring the Air Race World Championships to Northam despite Tourism WA showing no interest in supporting the event.

The State Government recently rejected a bid by the Shire of Northam to host the event later this year, stating the “start-up event” required a “significant” multi-million dollar investment.

But Air Race representative Mr Reynolds said the $2.5 million needed was a small price to pay to put WA on the map.

“$2 million is a pittance,” he said.

“All you have to do is look at the returns, Shire of Northam chief executive Jason Whiteaker says the actual return on investment could be three or four-fold minimum.

“$2 million is petty cash.”

It wasn’t enough to convince Tourism Minister Roger Cook.

“The Air Race proposal was for the WA Government to make a significant multi-million dollar investment in a proposed new start-up event,” Mr Cooke said.

“This request was not progressed after a review process undertaken by Tourism WA.”

The rights to the World Championship Air Race, developed by Red Bull as the Red Bull Air Race in 2003, were bought by media and digital technology holding company Touchpoint Group Holdings in September 2021.

The original event was created as an international series of air races in which the fastest pilots in the world competed in a sprint competition to navigate a challenging course of air gates.

After 14 highly successful seasons of air racing at iconic city locations all over the world, Red Bull dropped the event in 2019.

Mr Reynolds said Perth was the last Australian city to host the iconic race back in 2010, with more than 300,000 spectators flocking to the Swan River foreshore to see it.

“All the hard work is done,” he said.

“What better way to drive tourism and support local businesses than by bringing one of the biggest sporting events in the world to our state?

“We’ve seen the Premier try to push WA on a global stage in recent weeks, the Air Race would achieve exactly that outcome.”

In April, the Shire of Northam included $250,000 in its annual budget for the event, recognising an additional $50,000 to be included for staff project management time.

Mr Reynolds also said he would “put his money where his mouth is” and commit $100,000 of his own money.

By Claire Ottaviano

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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