Whin­cup gives thumbs up to pop­u­lar event HAPPY TO STAY

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

TOWNSVILLE 400 race win­ner Jamie Whin­cup and event or­gan­is­ers have en­dorsed the city to con­tinue to host the Su­per­cars event, which will be ramped up next year for the 10- year an­niver­sary.

Red Bull Holden Rac­ing Team’s Whin­cup cel­e­brated his ninth win on the Townsville cir­cuit yes­ter­day with a run up Cas­tle Hill and a swim.

Whin­cup said the 142,478 fans that poured through the gates over the three- day event this year cre­ated an elec­tric at­mos­phere and made for an event driv­ers wanted to see stay on the Su­per­cars sched­ule.

“I re­ally think this place is ce­mented on the cal­en­dar and I’m sure we’ll come back for many years to come,” he said.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic event, I know Cairns is try­ing to steal it up the road, but Townsville do a great job and wel­come us so well. The place is al­ways a pic­ture ev­ery time we come here and we’re more than happy to come back.”

While the ac­tion on the track was the ma­jor draw­card, the Satur­day night con­cert un­der the Su­per­top with Aussie rock roy­alty Jimmy Barnes and James Reyne de­liv­ered the big­gest crowd to a post- race event in Townsville.

Event man­ager Rachael White said the Su­per­cars team and the driv­ers all loved com­ing to Townsville and plan­ning was un­der way for the big­gest event yet for next year’s 10- year mile­stone.

“Where else would you want to be in win­ter time?” she said “( The event) in­jects over $ 34 mil­lion into the Townsville re­gion.

“We are re­ally happy with this year’s ( at­ten­dance) re­sult and the in­ter­state and in­trastate ( vis­i­tor num­bers) were also re­ally good.”

Mayor Jenny Hill said the sup­port for Vir­gin Aus­tralia in putting on ex­tra flights to get vis­i­tors to the event helped bol­ster num­bers.

Cr Hill also said she was con­fi­dent the city would keep the rights to the event be­yond the cur­rent agree­ment’s 2019 ex­pi­ra­tion, fight­ing off any po­ten­tial bids from ri­vals Cairns.

“This event is here to stay as long the com­mu­nity wants it,” she said.

“As a com­mu­nity we pride our­selves on the away we do events.

“Cairns claims to have the reef but what we can com­pete on are our events.”

Cr Hill was re­main­ing tight- lipped on what was planned for the event’s 10- year an­niver­sary next year.

“It will be a huge mile­stone and we are al­ready talk­ing about how we can value add to the event … and have one where we can en­gage more around the track, and we al­ready have some great ideas,” Cr Hill said.

Ms White said it took about five weeks to build the track and it would take about two weeks to pull it all down with the help of lo­cal labour­ers and con­tac­tors. All roads sur­round­ing Reid Park should be open by 5am today.

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

LET’S GO AGAIN: Townsville 400 race win­ner Jamie Whin­cup at the track yes­ter­day while crews work to open Bound­ary St be­hind him.

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