The Bend pushing for Supercars date switch

A rain-hit Race 23 at The Bend

The Bend Motorsport Park’s owner, Sam Shahin, wants the circuit to be moved out of the height of winter on next year’s Repco Supercars Championship calendar.

The South Australian venue has just hosted Event 8 of the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship on the weekend which had been earmarked for Queensland Raceway.

Since its first appearance on the schedule in 2018, Tailem Bend’s date has jumped around between August, September, May, and July this year.

During the winter months, Supercars typically visits events in warmer climates, with trips to Darwin and Townsville now tradition.

Despite the cold weather, OTR SuperSprint organisers reported a three-day attendance last weekend of 37,636, though numerous incentives were in play to attract fans.

That included a bus service from Adelaide to the circuit, which was subsidised by organisers so that patrons would only have to pay $5 per ticket rather than the $45 it would otherwise cost.

Speedcafe.com understands the bus service was in part a method for organisers to establish whether the hour-long car trip from Adelaide to The Bend is the most limiting factor for attendance.

Having expressed confidence that a Supercars round will happen at The Bend next year, Shahin outlined a desire for it to take place outside of winter.

“The ideal time for the Supercars carnival to come to South Australia is very clear,” Shahin explained to Speedcafe.com.

“It either is during daylight savings hours early in the year up to the first week of April, or after September.

“These were very straightforward and clear discussions I have had with Supercars over the years and principally agreed with the previous Supercars owners.

“The Bend was to feature at either of those ends of the calendar, either at the start of the year or towards the end of the year.

“Prior to 2019, it couldn’t be at the start of the year because of Adelaide 500.

“But the COVID years kind of put everything into this cycle of upheaval, and we had to just step in whenever was necessary.

“So in 2020, we were in [September], and you know, put on two rounds with three weeks’ notice.”

The Bend Motorsport Park was at one point slated to host a Supercars endurance round, with as much confirmed for 2020 before the calendar was turned on its head due to the pandemic.

Shahin reignited the idea of enduro at the venue, which he believes ties in better with the slot The Bend should have on the calendar, based on climate.

However, that would likely see it move later in the year and hence closer to the Adelaide 500, which will be the season finale for the next five years.

South Australian motorsport fans might thus potentially be forced to choose which event they would attend.

“I, like many in motorsport, believe that The Bend is better suited for an endurance event,” he enthused.

“And that means it’s in the second half of the season, and certainly well outside of the winter months.

“South Australia does have four seasons, and it is less than ideal to be visiting the southern states in winter.

“We’ve been blessed this [year] with 17, 18 degree days and minimal rain, but it isn’t the perfect patron experience that I want to extend to our visitors here.

“This is a magnificent part of the world in March and April and it is even more magnificent in September, October and November.

“Earlier this year, we counted 90 continuous days of temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees through February, March. I would love every visitor to experience that.”

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