Day At The Track

Rees adjusted her way to promote racing

07:00 PM 07 Apr 2020 NZST
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Amanda Turnbull
SOCIAL DISTANCING: Amanda Turnbull stands by herself at one side of the stage for a post-race interview during the Gold Crown Final.
Phil Blatch Photo

In her role as a harness racing driver Amy Rees has found herself having to make plenty of adjustments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but her challenges extend beyond that.

As the Bathurst Harness Racing Club's media manager Rees has also had to come up with plans on how to best perform her job given the new restrictions.

With spectators banned from attending all harness racing meetings in New South Wales, the demand to let Bathurst club members and supporters know what unfolds on track has increased.

For the finals night of the recent Gold Crown Carnival - a meeting which usually attracts a bumper crowd - it meant winning drivers had to stand at one side of the stage, master of ceremonies Chris Gray at the other while Rees produced a live stream video.

"It's been that fine line between trying to do everything we can to keep people interested and informed about what is going on without violating any of the regulations that have been put in," Rees explained.

"I've had a lot of people say they really enjoyed all the content that was up there and I think people seem to like the videos I put after the Gold Crown even though there was no crowd.

"We've had to put in a lot of regulations and change a lot of things up at the club, but we are lucky enough to still be earning money.

"We just have to abide by the rules that have been put in if we want to keep racing for as long as possible."

The conduct of trials have been altered, meetings are only being held at six venues across the state, drivers must wear just one set of colours at a meeting, and those attending meetings have to sign a disease declaration form.

They are just some of the restrictions, but Rees is happy racing is still on at a time when most sporting codes have been forced to shutdown.

"I suppose in the back of my mind I've got this feeling of 'They can't shut us down, they can't shut us down', but in reality they can," she said.

"Some days it feels like a bit of a ticking time bomb other days you think about just taking it as it comes and hope for the best.

By Anya Whitelaw
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