Boost Bathurst wildcard could come with extra $100k outlay

Greg Murphy (left) and Richie Stanaway. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

Boost Mobile boss Peter Adderton says it’s full steam ahead for his Repco Bathurst 1000 wildcard despite what’s looking likely to be a costly travel exercise.

There had been some doubts surrounding the effort fronted by Greg Murphy and Richie Stanaway, not because of border restrictions but due to fan attendance or lack thereof.

Adderton has maintained that the programme is a fan-oriented one, and if spectators were not able to attend the Bathurst 1000 then there would be little point in entering.

Initially, the wildcard came about in response to the Supercheap Auto-backed effort by Triple Eight Race Engineering with Broc Feeney and Russell Ingall.

After a cheeky Instagram post received a resoundingly positive response from fans, Adderton convinced Murphy and Stanaway to get onboard with the wildcard idea.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has twice seen the Bathurst 1000 postponed, now holding a November 30-December 5 date.

Despite ongoing travel restrictions, Adderton said he is still all-in on the project with confirmation that this year’s Great Race will have fans in attendance.

Adderton is hopeful he’ll return to Australia from the United States in the first week of November, border restrictions permitting.

For his Bathurst 1000 wildcard drivers, plans are in the works to have them fly over in early November too.

That would allow Murphy and Stanway to attend at least one event in the Sydney Motorsport Park quadruple-header as well as conduct a test at the circuit before the Great Race.

Last week the Federal Government outlined plans to begin welcoming Australian residents from overseas as vaccination rates increase nationwide.

Once safe to do so, the resumption of quarantine-free travel with New Zealand is also on the government’s agenda.

The Federal Government has indicated that could happen in the coming months.

If push comes to shove and Adderton’s drivers cannot fly with a normal airline, he’s prepared to charter a flight.

“We’re still committed to making it happen and I think that we may end up honestly having to fly Greg and Richie over privately,” Adderton told Speedcafe.com.

“We’re looking at what New Zealand’s going to do. We know what New South Wales is going to do, so we think that it’ll be an easy seven-day quarantine for them at a house somewhere so that that’s not a hard ask.

“Then going back is the issue, right? So we might have to fly them back and get them flights out. So it’s more of a logistic programme.

“But now they’ve got fans there [at Bathurst], I’ve said to Greg and Richie, ‘We’ve got to do it’, they’ve got to make it happen.

“I want it to happen and so I don’t think there’s any reason why it can’t, it’s just that they might have to do 14 days [quarantine] on their way back to New Zealand.

“A lot can happen in the next two to three weeks with these governments.”

Greg Murphy’s freshly painted helmet for the 2021 Bathurst 1000

If that does transpire, charter flights each way, accommodation, and associated travel costs may set Adderton back an additional $100,000.

However, Adderton is optimistic that the situation may change between now and the time they need to bring Murphy and Stanaway across.

“You’re looking at somewhere between $65,000 and $100,000, by the time you do the accommodation and the planes and everything, so it’s not a cheap exercise,” Adderton said.

“I’m so committed to making this happen for the fans. We’re going to make sure we do whatever it takes to make it happen. But it’s not a cheap exercise.

“We’re committed to making it happen, and now fans are coming back, basically, Bathurst will be packed with people. If the fans weren’t coming, we weren’t doing it, but the fans are coming.

“They’re still training they’re still ready to go and as I said, they’re excited to make it happen.

“I think Richie and Greg are gonna do okay, I know we’re going over there for some fun but I can tell you the boys are very serious about having a good shot at it.

“We’re all in. You know me, I don’t do things by halves. We’re either all in or we don’t do it at all. And we’re all in on this one.

“If I have to literally fly over and grab Greg out of his farm and throw him on an aeroplane and put him on to Bathurst, I will. I will make sure he gets there, for sure.”

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