News 10 Apr 2010

ASBK: Superbikes a hit on return to the Northern Territory

The heroes of the Viking Group Australian Superbike Championship received a welcome return to the Northern Territory during qualifying today after an 11-year hiatus, with over 2500 race fans turning out to enjoy Saturday’s action at Hidden Valley.

Marking the second round of the 2010 title chase, currently lead by Demolition Plus GAS Honda Racing’s Wayne Maxwell, the event has been heavily-backed by the Northern Territory government and has enjoyed a savvy marketing campaign in the lead-up to this weekend’s race.

“It’s a very fun and exciting track, and it’s a great atmosphere here in Darwin,” Maxwell said in a relaxed mood after Saturday’s Superpole session.

Superpole winner Josh Waters is also a fan of the technical 2.9-kilometre Hidden Valley Raceway, topping the time sheets in every session so far over the duration of the weekend.

“I really, really enjoy the circuit – it’s great,” Waters said. “It’s quite physical here, but we’re working hard in the heat and I’m excited for the two 17-lap races tomorrow.”

It’s expected that a large contingent of local fans will be on hand to take in Sunday’s action, with television, radio and newspaper coverage reaching near-record coverage for a standalone motorcycle race according to paddock regulars.

Chief minister Paul Henderson is also excited about having the ASBK at Hidden Valley, the circuit which was awarded the best V8 Supercars Championship Series weekend of the series last season by motor enthusiasts.

“Securing competitions of this calibre reflects the Territory’s growing reputation as a place that can host world-class events – a place where sportsmen and women want to compete; and a place that attracts enthusiastic crowds,” Henderson said.

“Bringing the Superbikes to Hidden Valley will further enhance the Territory’s reputation as a motor sporting nirvana. It’s also expected to provide a boost to businesses in the traditional ‘shoulder’ period before the Dry Season tourism season begins.”

The circuit this weekend features a large pit rooftop corporate marquee, trackside television screens, a massive viewing platform placed on the infield of the circuit, and banners flying throughout the city of Darwin advertising the event.