Broadcast line-up confirmed for Townsville 500

Jess Yates, Mark Skaife and Marcos Ambrose during the Darwin Triple Crown. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

Supercars has confirmed its broadcast team for this weekend’s NTI Townsville 500, with COVID-related travel restrictions delaying Neil Crompton’s physical return to the sport.

The popular Sydney-based commentator has been unable to travel to Queensland due to his home city’s ongoing lockdown.

He will however have a presence in the form of cameos from afar across the three-day event.

The one-production model debuted at Darwin will remain in place at Townsville, effectively allowing for a crossover between Fox Sports- and Seven Network-aligned talent.

Mark Beretta though, like Crompton, will be unable to take his place in Queensland’s north.

Marcos Ambrose will also miss Townsville; the two-time Supercars champion will make further appearances during the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship, namely slated to be on duty for the Repco Bathurst 1000 and Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.

Those absences leave scope for Jack Perkins and Brad Hodge to shoulder increased responsibilities.

“So, the commentary line-up will be a very similar format to what we saw in Darwin,” Supercars television boss Nathan Prendergast told Speedcafe.com.

“There will be no Marcos Ambrose and no Mark Beretta – Mark is another one that has been trapped by the COVID restrictions.

“In his place representing the Seven Network will be Jack Perkins. Jack will play a role in pit lane as well as alongside Jess Yates. Brad Hodge will also be here in a colour reporter-type role.

Erebus Motorsport co-driver and Seven Network broadcast team member, Jack Perkins (left)

“Along with that, we have our regulars, Mark Larkham, Chad Neylon, Garth Tander, Mark Skaife and Charli Robinson.”

Richard Craill and Matt Naulty meanwhile will play chief roles in commentating support categories.

Craig Lowndes will dedicate his full focus to racing in Round 3 of Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia, before returning to a television role in the near future.

The Townsville broadcast will be semi-remote, with commentary and hostings done onsite but many production staff operating from Sydney.

Prendergast made a point of praising Neylon and Tander, who are helping alongside Skaife to cover the giant void left by Crompton as he recovers from prostate cancer.

“Whilst Neil is the undisputed voice of the sport, I was extremely impressed with the job both Garth and Chad did stepping in at Darwin and I look forward to what they can deliver again in Townsville,” assessed Prendergast.

Every session of the NTI Townsville 500, running this Friday to Sunday, will be live and ad-free during racing on Fox Sports and Kayo.

The broadcast will be simulcast live on Seven from 13:00 to 18:00 AEST Saturday and 12:00 to 17:00 Sunday.

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