Adelaide Rescue Effort

Adelaide Rescue Effort

A massive battle is underway to save the Adelaide 500 from oblivion.

Supercars headquarters has been scrambled, politicians in South Australia have shifted into top gear, and every effort is being made to resuscitate the event.

The rescue effort follows the announcement by the SA premier, Steven Marshall, that Covid-19 pressures had forced the cancellation of the biggest sporting event in his state.

Marshall has been accused of being ’tone deaf’ on the issue, ignoring the needs of the state, and killing a major tourism drawcard for Adelaide.

But the move has cleared the way for the Gold Coast to potentially become the 2021 grand final instead of Adelaide, although Supercars is not planning to release next year’s championship calendar until sometime next week.

Supercars was blind-sided by Marshall’s decision and CEO Sean Seamer said “we were working on a date in November” ahead of the Premier’s official announcement.

Speaking exclusively to Race News at Supercars headquarters in Sydney, he said no-one is giving up on the Adelaide 500.

“We are committed to making it happen. It’s an event of national significance,” said Seamer.

The Adelaide 500 has been a huge success for 20 years but there was a significant drop in the attendance earlier this year, off the back of the national bushfire crisis and general economic uncertainty. The attendance in 2019 was close to the record for the event.

Once the Coronavirus pandemic hit, Supercars tweaked its Adelaide objective for 2021 from the first race of the season to the last event on the championship trail.

But then came Marshall’s bombshell.

“They informed us yesterday (October 29) that they don’t think they would be able to conduct the event next year. Which we understand to a certain extent,” said Seamer.

“However, they do not see the Covid situation improving in the next three to four years to the point where they could sustain a street race in Adelaide.”

Seamer would not comment on the politics behind the decision, or the Premier’s commitment to other large-scale cultural events in Adelaide, preferring to pick some positives and focus his efforts on the future of the Adelaide 500.

He also said that Supercars could see a personal impact on the people of Adelaide and South Australia that could parallel the grief when Melbourne snatched the rights to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

“We cannot let the people of Adelaide go through what they went through with the Formula One situation.”

Although he would not discuss the behind-the-scenes moves which have begun to save the Adelaide 500 is emphatic about one thing.

“We will find a way to make it happen,” Seamer promised.