Fans hoping to see the SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks at the Gold Coast 600 weekend at Surfers Paradise in October will be out of luck as the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) has announced the series will not be permitted to compete at the street circuit due to safety reasons.
Speedcafe.com broke the news on Wednesday. After being left off the 2017 calendar, Surfers Paradise was slated to return for the 2018 schedule.
Since 2015, the trucks have made frequent appearances at Virgin Australia Supercars Championship rounds as a support event. Despite their popularity among fans and the series’ growth in Australia, CAMS expressed concerns regarding viewer safety. At Perth in May, a loose wheel collided with a spectator bridge. Otherwise, with the exception of wrecks in which a truck hit the catch fence (though with no injuries to drivers nor spectators), SST races have been safe for fans with no incidents.
It is not the first run-in the series has had with the Australian motorsports sanctioning body. After a June 2017 race weekend at Darwin, series owner Robby Gordon was fined and lost his Australian competition visa following a hooning incident outside a local bar. The visa was subsequently restored following an apology and donation.
The news is a blow to SST’s plans in the continent. In May, the series announced it had signed a three-year deal with telecommunications company Boost Mobile to keep the trucks in Australia; series and Boost Mobile officials expressed optimism at growing the sport, including potential stops at the Sydney X Games and serving as an undercard to Formula One’s Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park.
While its removal from the Gold Coast card does not necessarily mean the end of SST racing in Australia, it is still a step back after the progress made with the Boost Mobile agreement.