LONGFORD motor racing enthusiasts believe they can stage a successful event over the coming March long weekend, despite the cancellation of the Longford Grand Prix Expo by Singapore-based company DX Industries.

Several locals who organised the popular Motorama event at Longford over the past three years say they are eager to stage a successful event on March 11 and 12, and are working on a community-driven replacement called “The Long Weekend in Longford” to celebrate Longford’s rich racing history.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty around, but we hope to make a terrific event for the community,” one of the organisers said this week.

The group is gathering a groundswell of support from the community, major businesses and from Tasmanian motorsport followers. “We are determined to make this happen,” one of the group said. “This situation will test us, but we have the Longford spirit.”

Car and motorcycle enthusiasts around Tasmania and across the mainland were dismayed early this week when they heard that DX Industries had black flagged the proposed Grand Prix Expo.

DX Industries CEO Jeremy Dickson announced the cancellation on his website and has been uncontactable since. The two-day expo received $450,000 in State Government funding and was supported by the Northern Tasmania Development Corporation, Events Tasmania, Northern Midlands Council and Launceston City Council.

A spokesperson for the Department of State Growth said that it has provided part funding for the event and discussions are underway with DX Industries to determine the status of that funding – indicating it is unaware how much or where the money has been spent.

The local racing enthusiasts who organised Longford Motorama over the past three years had stood aside to allow the Grand Prix expo to have full rein.

This week the locals were shocked and angry by the cancellation news but are keen to see the expo go ahead.

They hope that stakeholder meetings this weekend will generate support for a community-driven replacement to celebrate Longford’s rich racing history.

The GPX was expected to attract 15,000 people to Longford, including a significant proportion from interstate who are booked on planes and the Spirit.