As announced by Webber earlier this week, it seems the 2009 edition of the event will not take place. The reason, however, is not the accident that could have jeopardized Webber's participation in the 2009 F1 programme but the lack of funds. The Australian driver said most of the sponsors for the Challenge have ended their sponsorship deals at the end of 2008 and few have remained on board.
“The timing was right to review the challenge in light of the more difficult economic times,” said a statement from Webber. Further information about the survival of the event – having been ran by the RBR driver ever since 2003 – in the years to come have not been unveiled.
The Tasmanian officials admitted they were very disappointed when hearing the news, especially since the government representatives – through the voice of Tourism minister Michelle O'Byrne – revealed they would have secured the proper funding for the 2009 edition. Also, Pure Tasmania publicly announced they are willing to back the Challenge once again this year.
Although event director Geoff Donohue insisted Red Bull Racing had nothing to do with the cancellation of the Pure Tasmania Challenge, it is believed Webber's team were not very enthused with his leg injury following the 2008 edition. The Australian took approximately 4 months to recover from his injury and is believed to start the new season not physically fit.
The Tasmania Challenge was initiated by Webber in 2003 as a 10-day charity event to raise funds for children's cancer research charities. The challenge consisted of 4 teams doing a 1000-km route from Marrawah to Coles Bay while cycling, kayaking and trekking along the southern coast of Tasmania.