Queensland bubble was too expensive for Supercars

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Supercars had planned on holding a double-header at Queensland Raceway at the end of next month as part of a heavily revised late-season schedule.

However, with Queensland’s borders closed to COVID-hit New South Wales and Victoria, the QR swing relied on the sport effectively operating out of a bubble for at least a fortnight to satisfy entry requirements.

It’s understood the bubble hotels had been chosen and planning was advanced before the category decided to call off the trip north and instead opt for a quadruple header at Sydney Motorsport Park in the lead-up to the season-ending Bathurst 1000.

It was the second time a proposed trip to QR has been canned this season.

Expanding on this latest decision, Seamer said the primary issue was the cost of the quarantine bubble for the seven affected teams.

Adding to the risk of the financial outlay was Queensland’s zero COVID policy, which means snap lockdowns are an ongoing threat and crowds for the event couldn’t be guaranteed.

That scenario is in danger of playing out for the National Rugby League right now, with Queensland today recording four positive cases ahead of hosting the NRL Grand Final this weekend.

Sydney, meanwhile, is expected to be largely out of lockdown by October thanks to improving vaccination rates, with Supercars anticipating it will have crowds through the gates for all four SMP events.

“First of all I wanted to thank [owner] John Tetley and all his team at QR,” said Seamer.

“They have been outstanding this year. There’s been multiple times and multiple variations of trying to get to QR.

“But at the end of the day, the bubble costs were getting very, very significant – and not something we were able to proceed with.

“Once we got through that bubble, there was no guarantee we were going to be able to compete [in front of] crowds.

“So if something went wrong in Queensland, as we’re starting to see now as it relates to the NRL Grand Final, it could have been a significant investment for nought.

“Which is why we decided to take the certainty of Sydney Motorsport Park, also noting that that gives our people maximum freedom because there are a lot of people in Victoria and New South Wales that have been locked up for a long time, and it’s a big ask to ask all of those people to then go and do a bubble in Queensland.

“Particularly when there’s no guarantees around being able to have crowds.

“That’s how we arrived where we arrived.”

In a statement responding to the Supercars announcement, Tetley explained that he offered use of his facility free of charge in a bid to get the QR swing over the line.

“Even our offer to provide Queensland Raceway and its facilities free of charge to make the numbers favourable for Supercars was just not enough to make the opportunity stack up against the costs of crossing the border,” Tetley wrote.

“This is the third occasion the time and effort invested by QR and Supercars did not bear fruit because of the border restrictions. This will not prevent Supercars and QR from working together to bring them back to the track that was specifically-built for Supercar racing.

“Motorsport brings more value to the community than any other sport in terms of lives saved, jobs provided, technology and skills developed, and it has the best green credentials of any sport too.

“This is why we will all continue to work through these obstacles and to provide excitement for thousands of people.”

 

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