Bill Geddes took out King of the River title at inaugural Don River Dash last year. Photo: Show ’n’ Go Photography
Bill Geddes took out King of the River title at inaugural Don River Dash last year. Photo: Show ’n’ Go Photography

Off-road event entries skyrocket past last year’s numbers

COMPETITORS are revved up for the Don River Dash with entries skyrocketing past last year's figures in the five days nominations have been open.

Burdekin Offroaders Inc president Michael Marson said bike entries were expected to quadruple last year's figures and reach as high as 200 by the time entries closed.

There has already been 90 bike nominations compared to last year's total of 40.

Car nominations are also up, with 60 entries compared to last year's 40, but this is expected to rise to 70.

Mr Marson was stoked about the numbers for the event's second instalment, saying about 800-1000 people - between competitors and support crew - were expected to head to town for the Dash.

Spectators will bolster numbers even further for the event, where competitors will race along the riverbed of the Don River on the first weekend of September.


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Many other events have been cancelled because of coronavirus, which had given the Don River Dash a "shot in the arm", Mr Marson said.

"Bowen hasn't had a lot of big events this year and we're happy that we're going to fill that void a little bit," he said.

"We've had massive support from a lot of local Bowen businesses that have gotten on board with it."

Bowen resident Chris Land, who is a reigning Australian and Queensland champion and chairman of the organising committee, said the event was helping put Bowen and the Whitsundays on the map.

"The videos of our event go Australia wide and everyone in our motorsport industry are commenting on it," he said.

"A lot are wanting to come for a week's holiday.

"That's what we're trying to promote, come to sunny North Queensland, come for some sunshine and racing at the same time."

Mr Land said the Don River Dash was the only off-road and motorbike racing event of its kind in North Queensland and with the event being part of the state championships this year, it brought even more attention.

Keith Daley competed in the Don River Dash last year.
Keith Daley competed in the Don River Dash last year.

Mr Marson said a major focus for the event was keeping money in Bowen.

"We're not in this to make money out of it, we're in this to put a really cool event on," he said.

"Our whole motto for this event was that we don't want to take anything out of Bowen - any product or service that we can use in Bowen, we're doing it.

"All those people (coming along) are going to spend money, buy fuel, stay somewhere, we're encouraging everyone to buy locally and go out for tea on the Saturday."

Competitors are mostly travelling from Queensland to compete in the Dash, from as far away as Mt Isa and Brisbane, but it has also attracted a few racers from New South Wales.

Mr Marson said the event was definitely going ahead as even if the worst happened and the Queensland borders had to be closed again, the majority of competitors were from Queensland and there were enough people to ensure the event proceeded.

A safety plan for COVID-19 will also be in place.

To nominate a bike for the event click here, to nominate a car click here and to find out more information visit the Burdekin Offroaders Inc Facebook page.