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SA Premier backs Supercars finale shift to Adelaide

Simon Chapman

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Friday 4th September, 2020 - 2:55pm

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Adelaide currently hosts the Supercars season opener

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall says it would be “absolutely fantastic” if Supercars concluded its 2021 season with the Adelaide 500.

Earlier this week it was announced next year’s running of the event would not retain its late February/early March date due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Adelaide 500 has long been considered the traditional season-opener for Supercars, having hosted the first round of the championship in all but two seasons since 2002.

Prior to that the Adelaide Parklands Circuit, which formerly hosted the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, held an end-of-year date to close out the World Championship from 1985 to 1995.

A new date for the event, which is promoted by the South Australian Tourism Commission, has not yet been confirmed.

However, Premier Marshall said he would be in favour of the event closing out the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2021.

“I think it would be absolutely fantastic if we were the final event of the season,” said Premier Marshall.

“We were historically the final event of the Formula 1 (Australian) Grand Prix global series when it was held here in South Australia.

“It’s a great event when it’s the last event of the season.”

As it stands, Supercars is contractually obliged to end its season in New South Wales.

Due to complications brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, this year the championship will conclude at the Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit and not the Newcastle Street Circuit.

Premier Marshall said he is in regulation communication with Supercars organisers to find a suitable date for the Adelaide 500.

“It’s still early days in the negotiation,” he said.

“I know that Supercars are just trying to get through the 2020 season. They’ve got one eye to the 2021 season but we’re still in negotiations.”

Premier Marshall said it would have been foolhardy to go ahead with next year’s event on its original date given the economic risk associated.

With no guarantees of how many spectators might be able to attend the event, the decision was made to postpone next year’s Adelaide 500.

Event organisers cited significant planning, infrastructure hurdles, and uncertainly brought about by the pandemic.

“Historically, South Australia, for much of the last decade has, where possible, had the first race of the season,” said Premier Marshall.

“This falls in February. But we’re not in a position to really confirm what could happen in terms of crowd numbers in February next year now. We’re just too far out from it.

“We know that the build costs are extraordinary and it would be devastating to many small businesses in South Australia if they went through all of those costs to be told it can’t go ahead in February.

“So, with an abundance of caution, we’ve negotiated that the Superloop (Adelaide) 500, usually the first race of the season, will be postponed to later in the season where we’ve got much greater clarity about the crow numbers.

“I think also the fact we’re having these two Supercar events at The Bend during September will give SA Health a much better understanding at a smaller scale how large crowds move in and out of these type of events.”

South Australia is set to host back-to-back events in a few weeks’ time with the Repco SuperSprint and the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park set for September 19-20 and 26-27 respectively.

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