The last-minute postponement of the Winton SuperSprint is the best possible news under the latest Covid-19 lockdown in Melbourne.
It’s not good for the thousands of people who had made plans for the rural Victorian race weekend, including the many hundreds who were already on the road, but it keeps the event alive.
And, for now, it causes minimal disruption to the rest of the Supercars championship.
The new date for Winton, although only provisional, is July 31-August 2.
That means it will retain some of its traditional wintry feel, will allow short-range rebooking of everything from holidays to hotels, and will still provide a super-soft tyre weekend for teams.
The only team that is directly impacted his Brad Jones Racing, which sees Winton as its home race because it the track is little more than an hour from the team’s race base in Albury and because its founders – Brad and Kim Jones – were at the Benalla track from their youngest days with their late father, Phil.
Supercars had been working on emergency plans for Winton from the start of the week, when the latest Covid cluster emerged in Melbourne.
It originally gave a 100 per cent go-ahead for this weekend, but that was before the latest lockdown in Melbourne and news of a growing number of exposure sites and border closures and restrictions in other states.
Now it is working on a firm plan for the new date.
“This will be confirmed within seven days,” says Supercars.
It has also moved to satisfy ticket holders for Winton.
“Ticket holders for this weekend’s event can either collect a full refund or hold onto their tickets for the Winton SuperSprint to run on the new dates.”
Away from Supercars, organisers of the Ranges Rallysprint have also been forced to postpone their event because of disruptions to interstate travel. The Rallysprint, in the Flinders Rangers north of Adelaide, is intended as a competition and social event that would have seen all but a handful of the living Australian Rally Championship winners gathering for an Australian-first reunion.