Opinion: The Auckland SuperSprint was half-arsed

Opinion: The Auckland SuperSprint was half-arsed
November 8, 2016 | 6:49 pm | Author: Jordie Peters

Half-arsed, boring, stupid, whatever you labeled last weekend’s event, with numbers down, I think most will agree there was plenty of room for improvement!

Heading into the weekend deep down I knew, like many, that the ‘International SuperSprint’ format was not going to produce the best racing. I accepted that, but still purchased tickets and went along for my annual Supercars trip which generally becomes a highlight of my year. This time I don’t feel like it will be the highlight past years became.

For a start the four 100km sprint races were all about qualifying and getting the car off the line, then it was a matter of watching race cars circulate for 35 laps. This in itself is a very bad thing!

Motorsport often has the stereotype of ‘Cars going around in circles’ by non-motorsport fans which is fine because we know this is not true. However, this weekend that very stereotype held true meaning those people how came along ‘just because it was on’ A) wouldn’t have been proved wrong and B) had no chance of becoming a new fan.

When a massive series such as Supercars comes across the ditch for their only offshore event, everything possible needs to be done to ensure that they are showcasing how good their product is and everything their product features. Leaving out the excitement of pit stops and the strategy that comes with them was a huge mistake.

Pit stops would require longer races, which presents the opportunity for a 500km format similar to that of the Adelaide event (2x 125km, 1x 250km). The feature race on the Sunday would also mean the possibility of a top ten shootout would not be not be too far fetched either.

Suddenly we have another two features of the Supercars product that in themselves increases the appeal and overall show. We still aren’t there yet though.

The off-track package is just as important as on the on-track stuff, and a big part of the off-track package is merchandise. The merchandise at this year’s event was shocking. Four team’s set-up shop with very limited stock. Triple Eight and HRT combined to have a decent display and storefront while GRM had a few fold out tables piled with shirts and PRA seemingly left most of their stock behind.

Merchandise is a highlight of the event for the diehard fans who want to show off their support for their drivers and teams, but unfortunately most were left disappointed. I purposely packed only one additional shirt for Friday because I planned on buying some shirts, but there were none!

Posters were also a rarity at this year’s event, with anyone wanting signatures ending up with 10 or so event promo posters signed by different drivers because the lack of posters and merchandise meant that’s all there was to sign. Young fans (and older ones) love collecting the new posters each year and the only way that is going to happen this year is a bit of searching on Ebay.

Again, merchandise is part of the Supercars product and why teams aren’t required to take their merch with them to every round is something that needs to be looked out. Yes, there is a cost, but surely it’s something that could be subsidised?

The merchandise alley has also degraded in quality with outside vendors lacking in numbers and the addition of a few stalls that looked nothing shy of someone trying to sell their family’s redundant clothing.

What else was missing? Driver Parades, lunch time, lunch time entertainment and fly-overs. The driver parade is something that most Supercars events do not go without, so why not have one during their only visit to New Zealand? Again, it’s all about showing off the full product. Lunch time was also missing, subsequently lunchtime entertainment like drift demonstrations were also not present.

What do you think? Was it a half-arsed event? Was it not? Let us know in the comments.

P.S. Go SVG!

Photo: Supercars

  • Stephen Taylor

    Couldn’t have summed it up better if I tried. In all honesty, at the time I didn’t think the merchandise was that bad, but then I am a one-eyed HRT supporter. But my usual routine was all out this year – walk through gate, purchase official program, proceed to stalk drivers for signatures in program. But wait, where’s the program? Checked with the official ITM merchandise tent who confirmed no one was selling them this year. Then there was the lack of public grid walks which was always a highlight of my weekend. So yeah a real,let down off the track. The racing spoke for itself – Tander appeared to be the only driver not content to drive around in a procession. Bring on the ITM 500 next year, else it will be the final event in NZ.

  • Geoff

    Wanneroo (Barbagallo) was much the same last year.
    Thankfully this year was a huge improvement but still not like it was 8 or 9 years ago.

  • Peter Gould

    I agree 100% I have been to every v8 supercars race in NZ this one was by far the worst why they decided to run it that way I do not know is it part of supercars plan to not hold event in NZ the support races were below average too I mean sanggyong ute racing, I would imagine the drivers thought it was pretty average too. If I did not attend with mates who come from around the country partly as a reunion would have been much more boring

  • Bob

    I agree also 100%, also dropping of the fan stands from three two years ago to one this year. Better off staying at home and watching it?

  • Chris Kean

    I can’t agree more, even 4 x 125 km with a compulsory pitstop, if they want to run a similar format would have been a better. Apart from the early race on Sunday, it was boring.
    And that was only because of the great start for Frosty and then Whingecup being a dickhead.

  • Ray

    I understand the reason for the 35 lap sprint fprmat was to save expense for the teams. No need to bring Fuel bowsers and Air bottles etc. Same goes for the Merchandise
    As you say very poor showing and this was my first visit to Puke.
    Although there was only one fanstand we managed to find seats so stayed in them all day.
    The racing wasnt as I would have expected after going to long distance races at the Gold Coast. Also noticed the lack of Lunch time Entertainment.
    I will say that the choice of Food vendors was a lot better that expected at a Motorsport event.
    Is this standard normal for events at Puke??

    • Robert Martin

      If we pay the same price for tickets as they do in Oz then I expect full value for my dollar.

  • petedebbs .

    Yeah personally didn’t like the 4 100km sprint races found it absolutely BORING plus everyone knew it was going to be one team winning so there was nothing for the other teams supporters to get excited over.

  • Robert Martin

    Every year I go with my 3 brothers and we have noticed a slow progression where each year certain things have been removed that take away from the magic that makes the weekend so special. The supersprint format was boring and predictable and it was noticeable that the crowd struggled to get motivated no matter how hard the compere intervened to encourage an apathetic audience. Disappointing to say the least. Actually the biggest highlight for me was the fundraising tent selling the best mussel fritters ever!