Supercars fuel supplier facing border hurdles
Friday 21st August, 2020 - 3:22pm
Supercars’ control fuel distributor, RaceFuels, is looking at the potential hurdle of crossing two closed borders to service the final events of the 2020 season.
Despite a rush to blend enough BP E85 for the second Hidden Valley event which was confirmed at short notice, RaceFuels has dispatched enough fuel to get through that event and the two which follow in Townsville.
Freight is allowed to cross borders but getting enough staff from its Melbourne base, where the fuel is blended, to Ipswich for potentially two events at Queensland Raceway before the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 could be an issue.
RaceFuels currently has one staff member on the road for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, but would ordinarily send two to three.
It is therefore highly likely that it would require some sort of permit/exemption if the New South Wales-Victoria border closure and/or Queensland’s Victorian hotspot declarations persist.
“We will just be low stock at the end of Townsville and we will need to reload for Queensland Raceway – if there’s Queensland Raceway – and Bathurst,” Managing Director, Mark Tierney, who has remained in Melbourne, told Speedcafe.com.
“We loaded up as much as we could at the end of the last Sydney (event) and because it’s only a sprint format rounds and no support categories, we’ve got enough fuel, we think, for four rounds of Supercars. If we don’t, we’ve got stock in Brisbane.
“But at the end of Townsville, we need to reload, which we need to do from here, so the big problem for us, without trying to make it too much of a problem, is just we need to figure out our staffing.
“There are ways around it, but look with one guy on the road, there’s a point where your human resources need to be considered.”
Actually blending the fuel in Melbourne will not be a problem despite widespread industry shutdowns in the Victorian capital, according to Tierney, but ensuring that the right people are on the ground at Queensland Raceway and Mount Panorama is an important consideration.
At the Ipswich circuit, that would include not just provision of fuel but also set-up of the temporary fuel compound.
“Stock’s not a problem; we can make it and get that done,” he explained.
“Logistics, not too much of a problem; but there’s a point where we offer a specialist service in terms of our insurance, our compliance, and our understanding of what needs to be done and we’re not sure that we can just handball that to someone else.
“We need our human resource back and we need our asset (truck) back.
“Now, maybe the driver doesn’t come back, (but) we’ve still got to get the truck back, and I’m not going to lie; when the driver left on the sixth of July, he wasn’t expecting to come home in mid-October.”
As yet, there has been no confirmation of the return of Queensland Raceway to the calendar, adding to the difficulty of applying for border crossing exemptions, but it would likely feature on September 19-20 and September 26-27 if added.
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is currently scheduled for October 8-11 but could be pushed back one week to ease the burden particularly on non-Queensland-based teams which have been on the road since as far back as early-July.