By ERWIN CHLANDA
PHOTOS from our archive.
The 2020 Alice Springs Camel Cup has been called off because the organisers “do not have the confidence that it can be put on to a standard that attendees have come to expect from the event”.
Apex Club of Central Australia spokesman Kyle Pearson says he is making the announcement “with regret” and the club expects to set a date for next year in the coming weeks.
The Cup, first run in 1970 in the dry bed of the Todd River, is one of The Centre’s iconic events, for decades inspired and run by Noel Fullerton.
As a Lions service project it migrated to the Arunga Park speedway arena and from there to Blatherskite Park.
Its utterly chaotic and spectacular “kneeling” starts were the highlight of television coverage the world over: As the starter’s gun went off the beasts would leap to their feet, in a cloud of dust, the handlers yelling, some mounts heading in the wrong direction, riders falling off. Complete pandemonium.
But as is their want, the ships of the desert would reliably complete their lap, with their riders doing little more than hanging on, and return to their familiar yard, unfazed.
Usually there were six or seven races.
The standing start used in recent years was far less exciting, and the Pioneer Park racecourse for horses a more prosaic venue.