AFTER paving the way, then making way, for Supercars, the Newcastle International SuperMoto is coming back home to the foreshore.
And Cessnock’s Keegan Pickering, third in the women’s class at the venue in 2016, is pumped.
“I really want to win this year,” Pickering, 19, said at the September 1-2 event’s launch on Wednesday.
“Back at the foreshore, with the atmosphere and the location, there’s a lot more adrenaline. You feel a lot more pumped inside for the race. I’m happy it’s back.”
The SuperMoto, a mix of dirt, road and motocross racing, was first held in 2015 at the foreshore and again in 2016. However, work to prepare for the Supercars round forced SuperMoto to Newcastle Showground last year.
Organiser Graeme Boyd said “it hurt big time” to move last year but he believed the event would be back bigger and better with the changes made for Supercars.
“We lost a lot of impetus,” Boyd said. “But our television ratings were huge, and to me that’s the important part – selling the city to the world. And now we’re back at the foreshore, back where we started and back with the picturesque location. We’re certainly hoping for the crowd we had back in 2016, way more than 20,000.
“Now we’ve got the benefit of that 5000 square-metre car park, we can build a much better technical track than we could before. The street is so much wider so we can put more variants in it. It also now allows for our crowd to go down tugboat way, to be able to loop around the entire racetrack.”
He said an elite field will contest the Australian championship on the Saturday and Oceania titles the next day.
“We’ve got 10 world championship quality riders for starters,” he said. “Troy Bayliss and Jason Crump, people want to come see those guys, but in reality it’s the four-time American champion Gage McAllister and world No.2 Markus Class, those are the guys that really go.”
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the 2015 SuperMoto “opened our eye to what’s possible” and was a“trailblazing” event for the hugely successful Supercars round.
Newcastle, June 13: Today the 2018 Newcastle International SuperMoto was launched, with the Lord Mayor and dignitaries speaking enthusiastically about the event coming back to its spiritual home, harbourside on the foreshore.
“It’s a really exciting event, right in the heart of the City of Newcastle,” said Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.
“Back to the foreshore for 2018,” event organiser Graeme Boyd said.
This will be the third time the event has run as a free event - in 2017 the event moved due to construction works in preparation for the Supercar races in November.
“It’s really exciting for the city. We are into our fourth year of our partnership with Supermoto. Council has been an inaugural sponsor of this event and we have seen it grow over the years,” Nelmes continued.
“That first year went so well and we built on that for the second year, which attracted the full Asian Championships, then the Oceania Championships last years and this year.
“We’ve seen the success of Supercars on the back of what Supermoto did, in the terms of trailblazing large events in the city and around motorsport.
“It’s really exciting for SuperMoto to be coming back [to the foreshore]. Because of all the construction last year the event had to move. A heartfelt thank-you on behalf of the city of Newcastle that you were willing to move your event, sacrifice part of your own event, so we could attract another event [the Supercars].
“I think it’s going to another great event. It’s the start of Spring with a really big Asian audience, and we will be working with Graeme to tap into that audience in Asia to really promote the City of Newcastle.
We’re really pushing hard to reach out as we’re identifying as an emerging global city and to do that we need to be hosting events that have a global audience like Supermoto.”
The 2018 event will see both the Australian SuperMoto Championship run on the Saturday and the FIM Oceania SuperMoto Championship on the Sunday, with big crowds expected both days.