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Canberra's Hovercraft Rally Cancelled

Plans to hold an international hovercraft carnival in Canberra in December have been cancelled. HoverExpo 2004 was to have marked this year's 40th anniversary of the world's first hovercraft race, held on the then only partly-filled Lake Burley Griffin in 1964.

An imposing array of environmental and other requirements has beaten the organising committee headed by Australian-born Chris Fitzgerald, who competed in the 1964 event, and is now president of Neoteric Hovercraft Inc., a leading hovercraft manufacturer based in Terre Haute, Indiana (US).

Canberra's National Capital Authority withdrew its support, and four years of planning has gone for nought.

A press release said "Australian Capital Tourism believes that the tourism benefits of the event would not be significant enough for it to receive support through the tourism body's assistance program."

The Sydney Morning Herald's "Spike" columnist commented: "Or could it just be that Canberra's officials believe there are too many large objects already hovering around the nation's capital on a cushion of (hot) air?

"Whatever the case, the hovercraft federation is working hard to organise a replacement event - albeit a somewhat slower one: a Murray River cruise downstream from Albury-Wodonga."

The cruise is planned for December 28. Details will be available soon on WorldHovercraft.org, and in future issues of HoverWorld Insider.

Before then, the Hoverclub of America is holding a Hoosier Hovercraft Championship from October 15 to 17 on Lazy L Lake in West Terre Haute, Indiana. The Hoosier Championship will be the first official points event of the Hoverclub's 2004/2005 US racing season.

Terre Haute has long been a hub of hovercraft activity in the United States. It was the birthplace of the Hoverclub of America and host city of World Hovercraft Week 2002, during which Mayor Judy Anderson temporarily re-named the place "Hover Haute, Indiana." The World Hovercraft Organization and its international school hovercraft program, DiscoverHover, as well as Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc. are all based in Terre Haute.

One of this year's special attractions will be endurance racing events, based on handicapping, which will open the field for students and novices to compete alongside experienced hovercraft racers.

Several school teams are expected to compete in the Hoosier Championship Endurance Race, many of them participants in the DiscoverHover program or the Hoverclub's Youth Program.

 

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Story first posted October 2004

Copyright 2004

Eric Shackle

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