Whincup gives thumbs up to popular event HAPPY TO STAY
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.
LET’S GO AGAIN: Townsville 400 race winner Jamie Whincup at the track yesterday while crews work to open Boundary St behind him.