FOR Matthew Trayling, the thrill of high-octane racing is part of the reason why he’s an Air Force pilot.
And this high-flying Supercars fan has the best seat in the house as he prepares to take to the skies above Newcastle for the weekend’s aerial show, which includes stunts over Nobbys beach and flyovers on both days.
“It’s a history-making event,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve had the V8s in Newy and it’s the first time we get to showcase what we’re doing for like-minded fans. Being able to do this in my home town is just absolutely superb.”
Flight Lieutenant Trayling was in good company on Wednesday when he was joined by six-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup at Newcastle Airport.
By the afternoon, most of the teams were settled in on pit lane, on Newcastle Foreshore, with the Supercars and their teams arriving throughout the day.
Whincup said it was a “big feeling” to arrive in Newcastle as the championship narrows to a battle between him and Ford’s Scott McLaughlin.
“We’ve worked hard all year to get to this point. We’re rapt that we’re in contention, but so much swings around the weekend result,” he said.
Supercars fans lined Wharf Road as the Supercars rolled off team trucks with military-style precision.
Fans had earlier snaked out the door for an autograph signing with drivers Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Shane Van Gisbergen at Beresfield truck dealership Newcastle Commercial Vehicles.
“This is the closest I’ve ever been to pit lane,” said Maryland’s Darren Mitchell, who was watching the teams set up. “I’m here, right in the middle of it, and I’m stoked.”
Lambton’s Liam Potter, who was a fan of Craig Lowndes, believed the drivers would have their work cut out for them on the Newcastle circuit.
“It’s going to be tight,” he said.
Peter Craig, of Rathmines, said it was a coup for the city to attract the series finale.
“Yes, some people might not agree with it, but it’s here now,” he said. “Let’s just put our best foot forward and showcase the city.”
Supercars boss James Warburton said bringing the Newcastle 500 alive had been a “huge journey” and an “enormous amount of work” in a short time frame.
“It will put the spotlight on Newcastle,” Mr Warburton said. “There are very few street circuits that are better than this.”