'Great Air Race' crashes after government blows $413,000


2602 air race pic 9 OK
The NT Government has spent $413,000 to support an air race that has now been cancelled because its organisers could not guarantee “safe passage” to its competitors.
“The Great Air Race” was to commemorate the London to Darwin flight by Australian military aviators Ross and Keith Smith 100 years ago.
The NT Government funds went to a private company, Inspire Strategic Solution, an arrangement criticised in January by Solar Challenge founder Hans Tholstrup who said adventurer Dick Smith had been prepared to underwrite the venture – at least in part.
Our exclusive report was headlined “Air race re-enactment government’s latest financial folly”.
Another “program of events” will be announced soon, says the NT Major Events Company: “The centenary of the 1919 race is still a major milestone in the Northern Territory and Australian aviation history.”
Inspire Strategic Solutions had a contract with the NT Government for $1.25m which now ceases but almost half of that has already been paid to the company for, according to Major Events:–
• Securing 33 race entrants from around the world, and their support teams.
• Developing the complex program, which included the technical specifications, race composition and route.
• Engagement with the aviation and industry stakeholders across the world.
• Establishing broadcast partnerships.
• Negotiations with the relevant countries regarding access and support.


  1. Another example of taxpayers’ money wasted. This mob could not run a chook raffle.

  2. They probably could run a chook raffle. But the chook would turn out to be a turkey which would run away after the government had bought it and after the had paid some mob to print the tickets.

  3. The waste of government money is not as disastrous as the lost opportunity to the Northern Territory and especially Darwin.
    World wide publicity.
    Dick Smith already told the organisers they will never get the permissions. And the original flight did not have permission.
    Had Airbus entered? They already have the first electric flight Paris to London in the bag.
    They would have organised their own permits. No problem.
    And imagine the feather in the cap of Airbus.
    A wow factor.
    A futuristic plus for us all.
    Sad a minister would not take good advice.
    She would have had an event.
    And saved the government all that money.
    As I said to her when we meet: Save that money.
    Just support Dick and send out a worldwide press release.
    The world would have been excited.
    Sir Branson and Elon Musk types would have been excited.
    They too are boys at hart, off on an adventure.


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