NEWCASTLE looks set to host a round of the FIM Asia SuperMoto Championships, in what could become a signature sporting and tourism event for the region.
Six months after more than 30,000 people lined the Newcastle Foreshore for the Australian SuperMoto Championships, organiser Graeme Boyd has launched a plan to expand into Asia and put the event on the global sporting calendar.
Officials from Asia Supersports Group, who own the rights to the championships, took a tour of the city over the weekend and met with Newcastle Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, council planning and events staff and Tourism Hunter Chairman Will Creedon.
SuperMoto, which combines the high-speed finesse of road racing with the action-packed chaos of motocross, has a large supporter base in Malaysia, China, India, Japan and other parts of Asia.
The event, entitled the Newcastle City SuperMoto Championships, will double as the fourth round of the FIM Asia Championships and run on September 3 and 4 next year.
Under the plan, the event will attract about 20 competitors and 13 officials from Asia as well as countless Asian supporters and be televised on Fox Sports Asia to a potential audience of hundreds of millions.
Mr Boyd said additional funding from state and local government was required to confirm the partnership.
But organisers say if it comes to fruition, the event has the potential to replicate the success of Surfest and tap into booming Asian tourism markets.
Mr Boyd confirmed entry would be free for spectators.
But this year he has his sights set on between 50,000 and 60,000 people over two days.
“Last year we basically didn’t advertise the event because we didn’t want too many people to turn up,” he said.
“We got to have a look at how it would run, how the traffic and parking would work and now we plan on fixing a few things and creating a bigger and better event.”
Mr Creedon said the Hunter had a “natural affiliation” with motorcycles, pointing to statistics that show ownership of motorcycles in the region was 30 per cent above the national average.
“We want to build on that,” Mr Creedon.
“What really became apparent to us after the first event was that there was real opportunity and scope for an event like that in Newcastle.
“Credit to Graeme he took it another step forward and expand, not just here in NSW and Australia, but beyond.
“My job now is to lobby and articulate the economic benefits of this event to various government agencies.
“We are confident it will become a reality.”