A 60-year-old spectator was killed by an out-of-control vehicle during the 2021 running of the famous off-road race, which takes place between Alice Springs and Aputula.
Last week a coronial inquest into the death was finalised, the results reflecting poorly on both Motorsport Australia and Finke organisers.
The court heard that the governing body had made suggestions to the organising committee to improve spectator safety but that they were not implemented.
In the wake of the findings, Motorsport Australia has elected to not issue a permit for the four-wheel section of the event to take place this year.
News of the potential for the Cars section, and perhaps the event as a whole, to be cancelled surfaced over the weekend – less than four weeks from when it is supposed to start.
As it stands no final decisions have been made with event organisers in discussions with both Motorsport Australia and the Northern Territory government regarding running both Cars and Bikes at the event.
The Bikes section appears safe with Motorcycling Australia willing to support the two-wheel category.
Motorsport.com understands running the event without spectators was one option, but is considered impossible to police given the tracks covers 229 kilometres each way.
“The coronial inquest into the passing of Mr Nigel Harris at the 2021 Tatts Finke Desert Race concluded on Wednesday May 10 in Alice Springs,” read a statement from the organisers.
“As a result of evidence during the inquest, Motorsport Australia are yet to issue a permit for the Auto (car) section of the 2023 Tatts Finke Desert Race.
“Discussions are continuing with Motorsport Australia with the support of the Northern Territory Government.
“The Finke Desert Race Committee understands and acknowledges the impact this uncertainty is having on competitors and their crews, officials, our event sponsors and contractors. We acknowledge the considerable public support for the event.
“The Finke Desert Race Committee takes seriously the safety of spectators and competitors and is reviewing its processes.
“Motorcycling Australia has confirmed its support for the Bikes section of the event. Entries for the bike event close on Friday 19 May 2023.
“A further update will be issued at midday Thursday May 18, 2023.”