Newcastle confident Supercars opener will happen

The City of Newcastle is confident the Supercars season opener will go ahead as planned in March despite a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Newcastle confident Supercars opener will happen
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There are currently question marks over the first two major race meetings of the Australian season, the Bathurst 12 Hour and the Newcastle 500, as Omicron lashes the east coast.

Newcastle, currently scheduled for March 4-6, is particularly challenging as it requires a somewhat lengthy and costly street circuit build.

That means a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later with construction set to start in early February.

According to a report by local newspaper the Newcastle Herald, the City of Newcastle is currently confident the event will go ahead as planned.

A city spokesperson told the Herald that confidence was based on, "the outdoor nature of the Newcastle 500 and people’s ability to safely spread out".
 

Newcastle councillor John McKenzie, meanwhile, has called for an "urgent, independent assessment" of the risks of running the event.

"Because the Supercars event in Newcastle has been forced into a dense residential area, it presents unique threats for managing COVID risks that don't apply to other major events, where safety measures can be more easily monitored and applied," he wrote on Facebook.

"Due to the public health implications and the escalation of cases in [New South Wales], we need an urgent independent assessment of the inherent risks of Supercars, and a comprehensive safety plan – and this must be completed prior to the commencement of the construction works."

NSW officially recorded 34,759 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, although that figure doesn't include positive results from Rapid Antigen Testing, which points to even higher community spread of the virus.

There were also 21 deaths in that state alone.

As it stands the Bathurst 12 Hour, owned and promoted by Supercars, is thought to be at the greatest risk of a date change.

Intercontinental GT Challenge boss Stephane Ratel confirmed yesterday that talks were ongoing with Supercars and that both parties were committed to the event happening even if it needs to be postponed.

The IGTC opener is currently scheduled to take place on February 25-27.

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