THE only good news for Race the Rattler fans this year is that the iconic Gympie and Mary Valley steam train will not be hard to beat this year.
It won't be running - and nor will all the runners from neighbouring regions plus several from further afield.
Mary Valley Heritage Rail president Tony Hallam said the annual Race the Rattler event had been cancelled for this year, because of track problems and the fact that its two steam trains were undergoing maintenance.
Mr Hallam said flood damage had rendered the track beyond any quick repair this year, but the big event will be "back again next year".
"Without a steam locomotive, it doesn't have the 'wow' factor. And the track between here and Dagun suffered a lot of inundation."
The race, which is traditionally held on the Queen's Birthday weekend, has been cancelled this year.
But MVHR officials say they are now working towards a big comeback for the event in 2014.
Floods which inundated Gympie and much of the Mary Valley had done significant damage to the Mary Valley Heritage Rail track," Mr Hallam said yesterday.
"The only choice we had was to cancel the event this year.
"It's sad news, but we had to make that call."
It was a hard decision because of the hundreds of people who come to the region every year for the race against a steam train, he said.
He said many Gympie businesses would miss the customers brought to the region by the event.
"What we are trying to focus on now is working towards the 2014 event," Mr Hallam said yesterday.