SST following Supercar swap from Pukekohe to Hampton Downs

by Justin Nguyen

The Boost Mobile Super Trucks‘ first trip to New Zealand might not be until late April, but a curveball has already been thrown. During the weekend, Supercars Championship officials announced the ITM Auckland Super400, scheduled for 25–26 April, has been moved from Pukekohe Park Raceway to Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.

In Australia and New Zealand, 25 April is Anzac Day. Similar to Memorial Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom, it is a federal holiday that honours military members from said countries; Anzac is a term for soldiers from forces of the same name (ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). The specific date came into being as Anzac forces landed at Gallipoli on that day during the First World War in 1915. 25 April became a national holiday during the 1920s.

Although the Super400 has been hosted on Anzac Day weekend before (most recently in 2014), the change was spurred by a 2016 change to the Auckland Unitary Plan that forbade racing on the day due to noise restrictions. In particular, the plan’s Pukekohe Precinct laws feature the clause I434.6.1 which stipulates: “There must not be any use of the track by motor vehicles, except for vehicles undertaking track or facility maintenance or repairs, in all of the following circumstances: […] (b) on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day”.

Hampton Downs, located nearby and opened in 2010, is in Waikato and is not affected by the clause. The track, which features a 3.8-km International layout and a shorter National course at 2.8 km, has never hosted the Supercars Championship.

“Sincere apologies to our fans and partners for any inconvenience caused by the venue change,” Supercars head Sean Seamer said, “but we’re going to be just 15 minutes from Pukekohe at one of the world’s best facilities and most demanding tracks.”

As part of the move, the Supercars’ support series including the Boost Mobile Super Trucks will follow their main event to Hampton Downs. Regardless of location, it will still be SST’s first trip to New Zealand after being announced last September.

Although SST has not released any official statement, race promotions have been amended to address the change.

“Supercars are heading to New Zealand in April for Round 4 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, now at Hampton Downs for the first time,” Australian ticket seller Ticketek’s Auckland Super400 page wrote. “With a challenging track for the drivers and excellent viewing options for fans, the ITM Auckland Super400, 24-26 April 2020, will be better than ever!

“Be there to witness a strong contingent of Kiwi drivers competing on home soil, experience the new entertainment including the Stadium Super Trucks and join forces with your friends and family to cheer your favourite driver across the finish line.”

Shortly after the announcement, SST driver Bill Hynes was eager to get to work, posting on Twitter:

The weekend is scheduled to be the third round of the inaugural Boost Mobile Super Trucks championship. The 2020 season is set to kick off in late February at Adelaide Street Circuit in the first of three companion races with the American SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks.

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