The plug has been pulled on an epic round-Ireland powerboat race which was due to start in Cork Harbour in just over three weeks.
Organisers of the Venture Cup event, launched in a blaze of publicity in Cobh last month and billed as one of most spectacular free sporting events this summer, blamed cashflow problems and the collapse of a last-ditch sponsorship deal for the late cancellation.
The race, which was to feature multimillion-euro powerboats and teams including TV survivalist Bear Grylls and male supermodel David Gandy, was also due to be broadcast to 70 countries, providing a major showcase for the Wild Atlantic Way.
But organisers confirmed yesterday that the 700-mile race involving 25 teams from around the world will not go ahead.
“Delivering an event of this scale was always going to present challenges, but we felt we had the team and support to make it happen,” the Venture Cup team said in a statement.
“However, we began suffering acute cashflow problems at the end of March. Regardless of the funding commitment to the overall event, without positive cashflow we were being strangled.
“Right across the month and into May we actively sought to source solutions.
“Only a week ago we had a potential answer on the table which not only resolved the issue but secured the event into the future.
“Unfortunately this, and other avenues, have failed to materialise and we have reached a point where we can no longer proceed in good faith.
“We would like to both thank, and apologise to, the teams, stakeholders, authorities, communities, and individuals who’ve put so much faith into this plan over the past year.
“We can assure you that we left no stone unturned in our attempts to resolve this issue, but we must now act prudently and that means cancelling the event when we are unable to guarantee that we can continue to operate.”
Race teams who had paid entry fees will be refunded.
The race was supposed to start with in-harbour racing on a course in Cork Harbour on June 12 before embarking on a race along the south and west coast, with stop overs and shore-based festivals planned in Dingle, Galway, Killybegs, Belfast, and Dublin.
Cork County Council was working with the race organisers to showcase Cork Harbour and the county’s spectacular coastline.
The Haven charity had also been lined up as the charity partner.
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