THE Newcastle foreshore will be turned into a street circuit for riders from across Asia in September, when the city hosts the opening round of the FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship in a three-year deal.
The decision by Asia Supersports Group – the championship’s rights owner – to award a round to Newcastle on September 3 and 4 was announced by its chief executive Sathes Mayachandran on Wednesday.
“We’re very happy with [Newcastle’s] infrastructure, the amenities and a very passionate group of fans,” Mr Mayachandran said.
“We hope for Newcastle this is something that is going to be watched globally.”
The round will be run by a partnership of the state government’s tourism agency Destination NSW, Tourism Hunter and Newcastle City Council.
NSW Tourism, Major Events and Sport Minister Stuart Ayres would not say how much taxpayers’ money was being spent on the event, saying the information was “commercial in confidence”.
Mr Ayres said the weekend would draw more than 3,300 overnight visitors to the Hunter over the three years, with a total visitor spend of $1.9 million.
Similarly to last June’s Australian SuperMoto Championship, the hybrid road and dirt circuit will take in Wharf Road and most of Shortland Lawn.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said traffic controls and mitigation would be put in place, “as we do with any large event held on Shortland Lawn”.
The council wants to cement the first weekend in September as Newcastle’s round of the championship, Cr Nelmes said.
Highlights of September’s debut Newcastle round will air on Fox Sports and SBS, as well as on Fox Sports Asia, British digital channel Motors TV and US cable network MAVTV.
Other cities in the Asia Pacific to host championship rounds include Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
Graeme Boyd, the owner of Graeme Boyd Motorcycles in Islington, had been among those lobbying hardest for an Asia SuperMoto event in Newcastle.
Mr Boyd’s success in staging last year’s Australian championship on the foreshore, attended by 30,000 people, led to negotiations with the sport’s governing body, the state government and Newcastle City Council.
At Wednesday’s announcement, Tourism Hunter chairman Will Creedon credited Mr Boyd’s “undying love for two wheels” for Newcastle nabbing the event.
“We now have a vehicle to show our region to the world,” Mr Creedon said.
SuperMoto is a disciplinary blend of motocross, road racing and flat track raced across a circuit of tarmac, dirt and jumps.
The competitors’ bikes are four-stroke motocrossers with smaller wheels.