Adderton flags Bathurst Time Attack amid 1000 date saga

Action at least year’s Challenge Bathurst

Boost Mobile boss Peter Adderton is working on free-to-enter Time Attack events in Sydney and Bathurst amid the going saga over the Repco Bathurst 1000 date.

Uncertainty persists over whether or not the Bathurst 1000 will proceed on November 4-7 after a clash with the exclusive use period for Challenge Bathurst emerged, as revealed by Speedcafe.com.

Supercars claims to have agreement from Bathurst Regional Council, which owns the Mount Panorama venue, to hold the Great Race on that date, but council’s general manager has told Speedcafe.com that is not the case.

Adderton took to social media earlier this week with an offer to sponsor Challenge Bathurst in return for a reduction in entry fees for grassroots drivers, and permission for the 1000 to go ahead within the exclusive use period.

With that seemingly insufficient to address Challenge Bathurst’s concerns, which are understood to include the COVID risk of a crowd and availability of officials, Adderton has now upped the ante.

The telco boss, again through Instagram, has proclaimed that he is in talks with Supercars about the possibility of holding the Boost Mobile Time Attack at Sydney Motorsport Park this November and at Mount Panorama in 2022.

The former would be held on November 19, the opening day of Supercars’ Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight, but no more specific a date has been nominated for the latter.

While the move is an apparent swipe at management of Challenge Bathurst, which Adderton described as “a pain in the arse”, he says he is motivated by supporting the grassroots.

“We’ve always wanted to do a grassroots event and obviously with what’s going on up at Bathurst, it gave us an idea of saying, ‘Look, if people are interested in the grassroots attack, then we should do something similar,’” he told Speedcafe.com.

“I just had no idea that grassroots racing is that big and when we started looking into it, I thought, ‘OK, this is something we should get behind,’ so I called Supercars and said, ‘Hey guys, we want to do something like this,’ but I want to make it free, I want to make it grassroots, and that’s how you grow the sport, right?

“You get young kids coming in with their cars, getting excited about it, so I think it could be the future generation of Supercars fans, if you can get them out there and show them how to do it.”

While Sydney does not appear a problem, how the Bathurst Time Attack would be facilitated is not as clear.

 

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The Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit is limited by state legislation to five full track closures per year, of which Supercars has the rights to two, those being for the Bathurst 1000 and the Bathurst 12 Hour (or, this year, the Mount Panorama 500).

The circuit is thus at capacity, given the other track closures are taken up by Challenge Bathurst, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International, and the Bathurst 6 Hour.

Furthermore, Bathurst Regional Council has a publicly stated preference that those five events each have a clear point of difference from the others.

Arguably, that is not the case when one considers the nature of the mooted Boost Mobile Time Attack compared to Challenge Bathurst, a sprint/regularity event with an experience component on the days following.

Notably, Adderton has promised that the Time Attack would be televised and run “with Supercars”, suggesting it could either have to take the place of or be part of an existing event which Supercars runs at Mount Panorama.

He was tight-lipped when asked if the concept would form part of next year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, saying that, “we’re going to make an announcement on that” without committing to any specific event.

As to whether or not holding a Time Attack while Challenge Bathurst has the rights to a full track closure at Mount Panorama might present a contractual issue, Adderton responded, “At the end of the day, Bathurst don’t have a bunch of people lined up to do it.

“Without the Bathurst 1000, there is no Bathurst, right? So, everybody who goes to these events have known about Bathurst because of the Bathurst car race, so, the history of Bathurst.

“So, I don’t think that Bathurst city council’s going to have a problem with us promoting, making their sport bigger, bringing more people into the community, bringing more people into hotels and more people to restaurants, and making Bathurst more of an icon.

“At the end of the day, especially coming off the back of COVID, every one of those businesses up there are going to be suffering terribly, so I can’t imagine that Bathurst city council would reject another event to bring business back up into the local businesses of Bathurst; the cafes, the bars, the restaurants…

“So, I’ve got to think that if I was running the Bathurst city council, I’d be like, ‘How many events can I get up here? How can I rebuild the local business community?’

“We’re living in different times, so I think that might have been their approach pre-COVID, but now, with the fact that all these small businesses are struggling, anyone’s who’s willing to invest in bringing more people up to the Mountain, the Bathurst council wouldn’t be in for long if they rejected it.”

The 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour

According to Adderton, whose Boost Mobile targets a youth market segment and has been keen to support up-and-coming drivers, motorsport is failing to attract a younger demographic.

He hopes that a Time Attack geared towards that segment would refresh the fanbase, and cited the experience of his own children in their interactions with Boost-backed drivers Broc Feeney and Brodie Kostecki as an example.

“The one thing I think we’ve lost, especially through the younger generation – I think it’s through a lot of the auto manufacturers as well – is the passion for cars,” he explained.

“They’ve lost the passion for what the cars can do – for a lot of people they’ve basically become [simply] a mode of transport – and I think that’s why you’re seeing car racing audiences around the world kind of stay older.

“They’re trying to get a younger generation in, so, in order for Supercars to get that younger generation, we’ve got to get that passion back.

“I took my kids up to Norwell [Motorplex], my teenage daughters, and they went with Broc and Brodie around the track and they loved it.

“They’re like, ‘When can we go back up there and go fast again? We really enjoyed that.’

“So, I saw the passion that they fell in love with cars, with the speed, the handling, and all the acceleration and excitement that goes with it, and I’m like, ‘We’ve lost that,’ so we need to bring that back.

“The best way to do that is through, ‘Hey, you’ve got a car, come out and bring it to the track, and by the way, it’s free, and we’ll make it fun, and exciting, and we’ll have Supercars drivers there you can talk to,’ and let’s just get them back, and I think that’s the kind of reason for it.”

Challenge Bathurst boss Greg Evans declined to comment when approached by Speedcafe.com regarding Adderton’s Time Attack concept.

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