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Bali's F1 Powerboat Race Cancelled

Conflict with Religious Holidays and Lack of Government Support Cited as Reason for Change of Venue.

(8/2/2004) A much publicized international F1 powerboat championship race scheduled to be held on Bali's Benoa beach in October 2004 has been cancelled. The organizers, whose decision it was to move the event away from Bali, say a similar event may soon be held in Indonesia, perhaps as early as April 2005.

A number of reasons were blamed for the world championship race's cancellation and the decision to move the race set to be held October 29-30 October in Bali to its new location in Japan. Apparently the main consideration in making the decision was a conflict in dates for the race with the Islamic month of ritual fasting. Efforts to advance the date of the race to October 10, a period preceding the fasting month, were eventually vetoed by security officials who felt the proposed new dates were too close with national elections scheduled to be held on September 20, 2004.

Local press reports also suggest that a lack of financial sponsorship may have also played a role in the decision to move the event. According to the Indonesian-language newspaper Kompas, organizers have managed to line up only half of the estimated Rp. 24 billion (approximately US$ 2.7 million) in sponsorships needed to hold the races.

A Lack of Government Support?

Organizers have complained to the press regarding a lack of financial and moral support for the races. Quoted in Kompas July 29, 2004 edition, Mr. A. Reza Ali, Chief of the local steering committee for the F1 races said, "the F1 powerboat racing is a most prestigious event. It is not only an exclusive event its own right, but also so because the owners of teams will attend. The owners are Arab oil kings, princes and wealthy individuals. They attend to watch their teams compete while at the same time transacting business at the race locale. It is regrettable that the Government does not wish to actively support this event."