Supercars are set to tackle yet another calendar hurdle after the Northern Territory confirmed this morning that it had declared the Greater Metropolitan Sydney area a COVID-19 hotspot.
Consequently, the state will restrict entry to arrivals from Sydney due to a recent spike in cases which puts fresh doubt on the BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown slated for August 8-9.
Those that do make the transition across the border will face strict self-isolation measures which means Supercar teams will be forced to leave Sydney almost immediately after the conclusion of Sunday’s race.
“This situation in Sydney has the potential to get worse before it gets better, and we need to assume that it will get worse,” said Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner.
“Our borders are still closed to all states and territories until Friday.
“They will stay closed to Victoria indefinitely and they will stay closed to all of Sydney for now as well.
“There is now a large cluster in southwest Sydney, the Crossroads Hotel cluster. Our team has been monitoring this; the new cases, the spread.
“After considering his advice, we will declare all 30 local government areas in greater metropolitan Sydney as hotspot areas for the purposes of travel to the Northern Territory.
“That means, from Friday, if there are any arrivals to the Northern Territory from Sydney, or who have been in Sydney in the previous 14 days, they will be directed into mandatory supervised quarantine at Howard Springs, and charged $2500.”
All Supercar teams are currently being held in a ‘hub’ at Sydney Motorsport Park after a late closure of the Victorian border forced several teams to race across the border and set up temporary bases.
News outlet Speedcafe have reported little-known Wakefield Park circuit has surfaced as possible second hub for Supercars in New South Wales and is currently attempting to attain the FIA licence requirements which could allow it to stage a surprise Supercars round.
To date, three rounds around Sydney Motorsport Park have been penciled onto the evolving calendar with Supercars likely to schedule further rounds at the venue if Australia cannot gain a strong grasp on the pandemic.
Supercars have provided the following statement acknowledging the NT border restrictions:
“Supercars is aware of the latest developments and have been in conversations with Northern Territory authorities and NT Health regarding all possible options for the category.”
“Supercars will provide an update on any possible changes to the Darwin event in due course.
“The focus for now is on delivering a world-class event under lights and in front of fans in Sydney this weekend.”