'Cop out': Australia erupts over 'disgraceful' Supercars decision

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Scott McLaughlin, pictured here after winning the Adelaide 500 in 2019.
Scott McLaughlin celebrates after winning the Adelaide 500 in 2019. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Australia has reacted with shock and sadness after the Adelaide 500 was axed from the Supercars calendar for 2021.

Next year’s event was going to be the last under the existing contract, but the South Australian Tourism Commission announced on Thursday the decision was made after careful consideration of a number of factors, namely the impact of COVID-19 on one of the biggest event-builds in the state and the inability to recoup costs in a pandemic.

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It will be the first time since 1999 that the Adelaide 500 will not go ahead.

“We have been in discussions with Supercars for the majority of this year, working through possible scenarios,” SATC chief executive Rodney Harrex said.

“At the end of the day, with the current set of circumstances we are not in a position to deliver a sustainable, successful future for the event for next year and beyond.

“This was not an easy decision to make ... South Australia remains a strong supporter of Supercar racing, and would continue to promote the state as a venue for future events.”

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Supercars legend Mark Skaiffe and South Australian driver Nick Percat were among those to criticise the decision.

“We work really hard and thought we were really close to being able to have a proper compromise which, in some ways, heightened the expectation around what would have been the last race of the season in Adelaide,” Skaife told 5AA radio on Friday.

“I understand (Premier) Steven Marshall’s desire to do the right thing by his constituents and be diligent around (COVID) from a business perspective.

The Adelaide 500, pictured here being run in 2020.
The Adelaide 500 has been axed by the South Australian government. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

“But I don’t see how you can plum more money into other events when you’ve already got one of Australia’s biggest sporting events.

“We bring about $16 million into the economy and 90,000 visitors per night... we’re doing huge numbers.”

Percat called it a “COVID cop-out”.

“The reason I wanted to be a supercar driver was because of the Adelaide 500,” he wrote on Twitter.

“F U to the idiot who made this decision.”

Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin, the defending champion at the event, described the decision as “sad”.

“Very sad to wake up to news of the Adelaide 500 getting axed,” he wrote on Twitter.

“One of best events of the year. Some awesome memories over the years there.

“Made my debut, dropped an f bomb on live TV and won twice, made even better by the thousands of fans that would cheer you on each day! Sad.”

Fans were also left gutted.

South Australian Premier backs Adelaide 500 call

Supercars also responded with a short statement on Thursday night.

“We regret that the South Australian Government has decided to cease holding this event,” the statement read.

“Supercars is looking forward to providing our fans with an exciting 2021 Championship across Australia and New Zealand.

“If, at any time in the future, the South Australian Government decides to recommence the Adelaide 500, Supercars would be delighted to be there.”

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall, pictured here addressing the media.
South Australia Premier Steven Marshall has backed the axing of the Adelaide 500. (AAP Image/Mark Brake)

Premier Marshall said the decision was the right one.

“Costs were going up, crowds were going down, we saw that commercial support was reducing and COVID made it even more difficult going forward,” Marshall said.

“I know this is extraordinarily disappointing for the many motorsport fans here in South Australia, they have loved this event”.

Back in late February, McLaughin and Jamie Whincup tasted victory on the opening weekend of the season at the Adelaide Parklands Circuit.

Shell V-Power Racing driver McLaughlin then went on to win another 12 races to be crowned series champion for a third-straight year, before deciding to leave and compete full-time in the 2021 IndyCar Series with Team Penske in the United States.

with AAP

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