Supercars teams flee state as Australia approaches Covid-19 border lockdown
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A raft of teams in the Supercars Championship have had to uproot and quickly depart Victoria, following sudden border closure restrictions confirmed yesterday.
Five teams, Team 18, Kelly Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, Erebus Motorsport, and Tickford Racing have all had to pack their cars, equipment, and in some cases personel in rapid time in order to make it out before the border between Victoria and New South Wales closes tonight at 11.59pm AEST. There's no indication when the teams will be able to return to their respective bases or see their families.
Don’t ever question the commitment some drivers, crew members and family’s have for our sport. What the Victorian teams have sacrificed, allows the sport we love continue, provide entertainment for us all and a job for majority of the people in @supercars, Thank you 🙏🏻 #VASC pic.twitter.com/CCvyU12cl9— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin93) July 6, 2020
After a solid Covid-19 recovery effort, case numbers in Victoria have had a sharp spike in recent weeks, particularly compared to the rest of the country. While most states yesterday recorded zero new Covid-19 cases, Victoria recorded 127 — many of which are suspected to have come from community outbreak.
The series had already cancelled its next event in Victoria, which was slated to be at Winton on July 18–19. That event will now be run at Sydney Motorsport Park, creating the unprecedented situation of back-to-back events at the same venue.
The next event in Victoria is slated to be held at Sandown on September 19–20, which questionmarks over its potential rescheduling.
Various drivers and team owners have praised the against-the-clock efforts of their peers to get over the border before its closure in order to keep the series alive for 2020.
"Don’t ever question the commitment some drivers, crew members and family’s have for our sport," said series leader and defending champion Scott McLaughlin. "What the Victorian teams have sacrificed, allows the sport we love continue, provide entertainment for us all and a job for majority of the people in Supercars."
"Not sure when I’ll be back to see my wife and the kids, could be months. Tough times," said former champ Mark Winterbottom. "A big thank you to the families of team members, allowing your partners to keep this sport alive. It’s a huge sacrifice that is really appreciated."
In an interview with Speedcafe.com, Red Bull Holden Racing Team boss Roland Dane said his team would be able to help other teams with the shift.
"We’ll help wherever we can," said Dane.
"I just haven’t spoken to them yet. We can’t help everyone, there’ll be people I’m sure who can lend a hand. [...] I think places to houses cars is not an issue, there are plenty of places, it’s more the logistical issues forced by people not being able to travel."