Race Tasmania safe as talks begin on Queensland competitors

TCR Australia at Queensland Raceway in 2019 pic: TCR Australia

Boost Mobile Race Tasmania is regarded as all but certain to proceed this month although there is now work to do regarding Queensland-based competitors.

Sydney-based competitors and staff had been the issue for organisers of the pair of events which will see action for TCR Australia and other Australian Racing Group categories, due to a Northern Beaches COVID-19 outbreak late last year.

However, with strong support from the Tasmanian Government for those events at Symmons Plains and Baskerville Raceway, the Sydney problem is close to being solved by way of some sort of travel bubble arrangement which will allow for exemption from quarantine obligations.

Now, competitors from in and around the Queensland capital face uncertainty due to this morning’s lockdown decision, which has seen Greater Brisbane declared a hotspot at Commonwealth level, and a ‘high-risk area’ by Tasmania.

While most of Greater Sydney is officially ‘medium-risk’ and therefore is a case of quarantine upon entry to Tasmania, entry is prohibited altogether from the Northern Beaches local government area (LGA) and now also five LGAs which constitute Greater Brisbane.

Barry and Garry Rogers are the men behind the Race Tasmania concept, and have therefore also taken on the task of liaising with the Tasmanian Government on the Sydney issue.

According to Australian Racing Group CEO Matt Braid, that much is very close to a resolution, and the events will definitely go ahead.

“The event itself is not in danger of not being run,” Braid told Speedcafe.com.

“Tasmania’s okay. Obviously they’ve got their limits down there on crowds and so forth, [but] the event can actually happen.

“The main issue we’ve had and been dealing with is getting the New South Wales competitors and other crew and management and staff that we need down there.

“That’s progressed, so GRM [Garry Rogers Motorsport] have taken a lead through their contact with the Tasmanian Government.

“We’ve had some really good and positive conversations with them, we’ve supplied some information, we are very hopeful of a positive outcome from them.

“Touch wood, we’re expecting some communication back from them imminently, on whether we’re good to go or not, or what conditions there are, but at this stage it looks very positive.”

It is believed that a decision on NSW was to have happened and possibly even been announced today, before the Queensland drama arose.

“The Brisbane thing today, that’s unexpected, the lockdown,” added Braid.

“It’s a three-day lockdown, we just don’t know what’s going to transpire with that yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

“But the view would be that if it’s a three-day lockdown, they’re going pretty hard and touch wood that they can control it quickly when you go to that extent.

“But like we’ve seen last year, and what we’re proposing this year and expecting is that we’ll have to change tack on a daily basis with this stuff; we’ve just got no choice.

“So far, the New South Wales-Tasmania scenario looks positive but I can’t confirm more than that at this stage.”

Queensland competitors are understood to be frustrated by lack of communication from ARG or Race Tasmania today.

While the Symmons Plains event is due to start on January 24, freight arrangements are such that they must dispatch trucks from base on January 16 (Saturday week) in order to make the ship from Victoria.

It is believed, however, that talks will shift to the Sunshine State over the weekend.

Queensland’s three-day lockdown is a response to a cleaner in a quarantine hotel becoming infected with the mutant UK strain of COVID-19 which is said to be 70 percent more infectious than the virus.

It is essentially motivated by the urgency of contact tracing, given said cleaner’s recent movements in the community.

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