POLICE will have zero tolerance for drunkeness or assaults at the Southern 80 and are vowing to stop problem revellers’ bad behavior.
In recent years officers had noticed problems in certain tracts of bushland during the three-day Murray River ski race, Echuca inspector Dave Rowe said.
“I’m quite happy to say we don’t get a lot of problems but we do sadly get a few who want to wreck the Southern 80 for others,” he said.
Campers began arriving Thursday morning ahead of Friday’s kick-off and police were reporting a “very quiet” night in Echuca.
Crowds of more than 50,000 people were expected at the event, many of whom were still to arrive, with VicRoads expecting heavy traffic on the Murray Valley Highway, Northern Highway and local roads.
The agency was calling for people to be patient, obey the road rules and pay extra attention around roadworks, including parts of Echuca’s Warren Street.
Booze buses and extra officers would target motorists, Inspector Rowe said, with patrols of Echuca’s entertainment precinct.
Inspector Rowe said people leaving fires unsupervised to watch events was a problem at the Southern 80.
“There must be someone with it at all times,” he said.
Police and Parks Victoria would conduct joint patrols to make sure people were complying with campfire regulations.
Parks Victoria’s chief ranger Leeza Wishart asked people to clean up after themselves.
“We know from past Southern 80 Race events that a huge amount of rubbish will be created,” she said.
Related: 2017’s Southern 80 in pictures
Dumping rubbish in our parks is not just unsightly and illegal but also potentially dangerous for visitors, and impacts on native plants and animals,” Ms Wishart said.
“We remind everyone to take their rubbish home or dispose of it at a nearby transfer station.”
More than 400 competitors were expected at the race, including Axedale’s Tony Dempster, Bendigo’s Jessica Pearse and Junortoun’s Tony Morley.
The 50th Southern 80 will take place between Torrumbarry and Echuca.
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