Highlands Motorsport Park owner Tony Quinn is ditching the Race to the Sky hill climb.
Earlier this year the wealthy Australian successfully revived the race, which runs from the floor of the Cardrona Valley to nearly the top of the Pisa Range.
But Quinn – who recently sold up much of his and on a luxury Queenstown Bay apartment complex – has suddenly pulled the pin.
In a statement yesterday, he says he regrets not continuing with the race but the decision followed “unexpected and disappointing decisions from other interested parties”.
The statement says: “Firstly, a recent decision by the landowners to offer up a significantly reduced term of three years, compared to the original 10, for the event to be conducted on their land provides me and my team with little confidence to continue in dealing with the landowner.
“In short, we can no longer invest heavily in the promotion of the event when the goal posts are changed in this manner.
“I simply see this as an opportunistic act and I will not line the pockets of others in this way nor be held to ransom.
“This is not how I do business, and neither myself nor my team at Highlands have the time or patience to deal with this bullshit.”
The road is owned by Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds and the land around it is believed to be owned by Cardrona Valley Farm.
Neither could be contacted for comment last night.
Quinn says continuing with the event in 2016 and beyond was not feasible given that roading costs on the access road had “almost tripled” from $35,000 in 2007 to more than $90,000 in 2016.
In addition, he says some neighbouring parties are “now looking for a handout for potential loss of income”.
“Again, I will not be held to ransom.”
Quinn says he’ll continue with other motorsport projects.
Otago Daily Times