Victorian border hurdle for Supercars’ SMP event

Sydney Motorsport Park

Victoria has decided to effectively close its border to New South Wales ahead of next month’s Beaurepeaires Sydney SuperNight.

Sydney is under lockdown as COVID-19 cases in the Harbour City escalate, and there is presently no certainty as to when the outbreak might be brought under control.

The entire state of New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory which it landlocks, are classified as red zones by Victoria, effective tonight at 23:59 local time/AEST.

That means non-residents are not allowed to enter Victoria without an exemption, while residents must observe 14 days of self-quarantine upon their return.

The Repco Supercars Championship is supposed to race at Sydney Motorsport Park on August 20-22, but that would seem infeasible if the NSW capital’s outbreak continues for multiple weeks longer.

Winton Motor Raceway, however, appears a suitable replacement or stand-in.

That is because few, if any, of the competitors and other personnel involved in the Supercars Championship circus are likely to be affected by Victoria’s move, so long as they do not visit Sydney.

Only Team Sydney and Brad Jones Racing are based in NSW, but one of those outfits has reverted to its former Tekno Autosports facility on the Gold Coast, and the latter is situated in the border town of Albury.

Those who live in the cross-border area may still enter Victoria without a permit, so long as they have not been to a red zone outside of it, do not have COVID-19 symptoms, and are not a close contact of a case.

That means BJR would have no travel hindrance on its way to Winton, around 100km southwest of Albury.

As for the Queensland-based teams, travel through a red or orange zone is allowed, but “only for direct and short-term transit of less than 24 hours.”

That means it is possible for trucks to enter Victoria via NSW, while other team personnel would likely fly down anyway.

It should be noted that the Brisbane local government area is still classified as an orange zone, which, at this time, would affect at least those who have been to Triple Eight Race Engineering’s workshop in Banyo.

Arrivals to Victoria from orange zones must enter self-quarantine and remain there until they return a negative COVID-19 result.

The Gold Coast, where every other Queensland-based team’s headquarters are located, is a green zone, effective last night.

Supercars is mindful of the Sydney situation but, in a media briefing at this weekend’s NTI Townsville 500, championship CEO Sean Seamer expressed hope the ‘Eastern Creek’ event could go ahead.

We’re still six weeks out from Sydney,” noted Seamer on Friday, before Victoria changed its settings.

The Dunlop Super2 Series, which includes a number of NSW-based drivers, is also on the support card at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Both the Championship and Super2 seasons continue with another event in North Queensland, the WD-40 SuperSprint, next weekend.

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