Darwin Supercars Puzzle Still In Pieces

Darwin Supercars Puzzle Still In Pieces

Voters and AFL fans could decide the way the second leg of the landmark Darwin double-header will work.

The original plan for the second Supercars meeting in the Top End, on August 22-23, is under threat because of the Northern Territory election and a high-profile AFL game between Essendon and Richmond.

The Saturday clash is creating a major headache for Supercars planners and government officials because of the existing commitments to the election and the ‘Dreamtime in Darwin’ game.

A mid-week fixture is now a definite possibility, but hinges on all sorts of pieces in a complicated puzzle.

They include everything from the availability of volunteer marshals to emergency services commitments and the logistics of the broadcast crew.

Nothing is confirmed yet, but Supercars hopes to have a complete picture before the end of the week.

“Discussions have taken place and there will be more to come,” a Supercars spokesman tells Race News.

“We’re working in the background with the Northern Territory government and broadcasters on what suits everyone, and hoping for an outcome as soon as possible.”

There is no firm deadline for a decision but all of the parties need to move quickly as they face the opening meeting in Darwin this weekend and then the re-setting of the logistics for the follow-up.

Timing for the second meeting will also be crucial to Supercars teams’ planning for the following double-header in Townsville, with transporters set for the long cross-country drive that will take three-and-a-half days.

“We are doing everything we can and so is everyone else. But there are a lot of moving parts,” the spokesman says.

Marshalls are crucial and some might not be available for a mid-week fixture, while emergency services crews will be heavily committed during voting in the NT election.
“It’s not a simple puzzle.”

But the Dunlop tyre allocation for Hidden Valley I is set, with two sets of soft-compound tyres and three sets of hards, with only hard-compound rubber for Saturday qualifying.

For Hidden Valley 2 it’s all softs.

A decision on tyre allocations for the twin meetings in Townsville will only be made after Darwin, so Supercars can assess the more-successful choice, just as the Darwin tyres reflect the close and unpredictable racing at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The Townsville package is now looking good and came together much more quickly than Darwin because the infrastructure will already be in place and there is no significant date clash.

It was quickly decided during rapid-fire negotiations with the Townsville city council and Tourism and Events Queensland.

Supercars has yet to make a decision on a potential double-header at Queensland Raceway between Townsville and the Bathurst 1000, although the Supercars Commission has given it a green light.

It’s now believed to hinge on potential government funding and a re-arrangement of other minor events currently scheduled on the days of the potential Supercars meetings.