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Motorsport

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The Trans-Am event on Race 2 was once again filled with a series of wrecks, especially at the tricky hairpin corner that gave no time to resume racing after the first 5-8 laps.

However, we saw a bit of entertainment where Nathan Herne successfully made the winning pass off Tim Brook towards the end of lap one in the No.1 Ford for GRM, having held off top spot through the end on what was been in a yellow flag shortened race. We’d love to see Brook show off his incredible escape like he did yesterday, but just couldn’t hold off this time and end up in 4th.

Then we move onto the S5000 open-wheelers where there was a couple of early race dramas going on. We saw yesterday’s winner Joey Mawson being collected at the opening lap by team-mate Tim Slade for Team BRM, Blake Purdie’s spin at the hairpin on Lap 8 that led to another safety car out on-track & Adam Garwood’s car stopped during the Lap 15 restart.

But how good is Josh Fife in the 88 ACMFinance.com Racing machinery, who was unbelievable from start to finish, not even the restarts bothered him where he unleashed the entire field before Fife held on top spot comfortably through the chequered flag with the win.

And we round it off with the TCR Australia category through a mix of brilliant racing and bumps into the wall.

We saw the opening lap battle for 1st place with GRM team-mates side by side between Jordan Cox and Aaron Cameron, although Cameron may be unlucky to have lost out after he urgently made to pit road for repairs but what a comeback moment though from Race 2 winner Jordan Cox.

Now Cox may have experienced an unfortunate pace lap drama yesterday afternoon where he started on pit lane & finished 17th, but he did a great job holding off top spot comfortably from start to finish. More to come if he manages to keep that race-winning form going into Race 3 a bit later on and the remaining six races of 2022.

Also another shoutout to Tony D’Alberto in the No.50 Honda Civic for Wall Racing. He too made a sensational last lap pass on Will Brown in No.999’s MPC Audi RS3, and that was enough to deliver him a podium finish in 3rd.

Lots to reflect on a great weekend of racing at AWC Race Tasmania.

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What a way to kick off Saturday afternoon of motorsport with Race 1 of the S5000 category in the AWC Race Tasmania at Symmons Plains Raceway, nice to see James Golding dominate through practice and qualifying where he started from pole position but it’s Joey Mawson, who dominated this one from start to finish for Team BRM.

It’s also brilliant to see Cooper Webster’s mum cheer on her son from the garage. He produced a great drive for Versa Motorsport on-track in 4th behind Tim Slade, as he’s 17-18 right now while juggling with another job working at McDonald’s, according to Richard Craill on commentary. Not only he has a great chance to be on the podium or winning tomorrow for Race 2 & 3, but also a bright future ahead wherever he goes.

Then we move into the Trans-Am where it was a race filled with yellows, such as a few spins into the gravel, a fire on the grass with 10 laps to go and a race-ending wreck after Tim Shaw was collected into the wall by Nic Carroll.

We did see some good moments though with Tim Brook’s stellar start to 1st spot in the No.38 Ford Mustang for Wall Racing, having held it comfortably even though he almost lost the lead at one point & made a remarkable recovery through the tricky hairpin on the Lap 8 restart of 22.

And we wrapped up Day 1 of the AWC Race Tasmania season-opener with the TCR Australia cars on display when 18-year-old Jay Hanson won his first-ever race in an Audi for MPC Racing, Love how he instantly overtook Polesitter Nathan Morcom as soon as the race began under green before Hanson extended his lead and held top spot comfortably caution-free until the end with the win.

Plus credit to Josh Buchan on his P2 finish ahead of team-mate Morcom in a Hyundai for HMO Customer Racing, when a decent qualifying run in 4th gave him ample time to nail down a podium spot.

There’s also another special mention to Michael Caruso in the No.10 Alfa Romeo Giulietta for Ashley Seward Motorsport, he too may have missed practice and qualifying over a power steering issue but what a remarkable recovery from the back end of the grid to 12th after Race 1 thanks to a caution-free spell & the way he manages his use of tyres count under green. There’s more to come from Caruso tomorrow both as a driver and also on-air as an analyst when not racing TCR on Nine/Stan’s ARG SpeedSeries coverage, he’s a man of many talents.

Plenty of bright youngsters making a name of themselves today against predominately experienced entries through the field, looking forward to the 2nd and final day of the season-opener weekend tomorrow.

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It’s great to see Matt White cover motorsports again, who will be the face of Stan Sport and Nine’s ARG (Australian Racing Group) SpeedSeries coverage, for all seven races this season.

He will be in a co-hosting role alongside Chris Stubbs, but no plans to bring him on commentary like he did in previous years, such as the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix on Network 10 from 2015-19 & V8 Supercars on Seven from 2007-2014.

There‘s a few on-air talent out there that will do double duty on Nine/Stan, with Stubbs also reporting on pit lane, Greg Rust splitting his time both on commentary/pit lane & Michael Caruso doing both colour commentary for various categories other than his TCR Australia driving duties with Ashley Seward Motorsport.

And we round it off with veteran commentators such as Richard Craill and Matt Naulty, plus legendary rally driver and defending Extreme E champion for Nico Rosberg’s team, Molly Taylor.

It’s the first time that we will see Matt White on Nine after his long-running stints in the past with two other commercial rivals at Seven & 10, even though he’s not on contract there as Supercars Media is handling the production/on-air talent.

We would also love to see Rust back on Nine where he once made his breakthrough as announcer during the support races at the 1996 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Eastern Creek, NSW. He has had an amazing broadcasting career involving motorsports ever since, such as at Network 10 for 18 years before he moved onto Supercars Media and now doing freelance.

However, he won’t be able to travel to Tasmania this weekend due to border restrictions from his current residence in New Zealand. We should able to see/hear him throughout the season via one-hour highlights shows on 9Gem, but hopefully he makes a live return next season.

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Huge progress from Stan Sport and the Nine Network today with their Motorsports content, not only they added Formula E last week in addition to IndyCar, World Rally Championship & World Endurance Championship but they also just secured the Australian Racing Group’s SpeedSeries competition.

But it won’t be the same though unlike previous TV deals with SBS and Seven Network, when all seven races throughout 2022 will be behind a paywall on Stan Sport. Meanwhile, Nine will air the opening race live at Symmons Plains in Tasmania next weekend alongside one-hour highlights shows a week later after every round.

It’s good news if you’re a Motorsports fan willing to pay $20 a month for all of the auto racing/motoring content Stan can offer that includes a new season of same day Top Gear episodes. However, not only they will have to wait one week to watch the remaining round’s highlights for free but even though some subscribed to Stan Sport, they may have to fork out another $25 a month at Kayo for Formula 1, Supercars & MotoGP.

Then there’s the beauty of competition in a bid to try and boost subscribers when the Formula 1 rights are up for renewal at the end of this year in Australia, Kayo/Foxtel have been reported several times as the winner to extend their contract that goes back to 2015 with Network 10 but it’s still not official just yet.

If Nine/Stan managed to beat Foxtel for the Formula 1 rights, it will work out a similar mix of free and paid content model such as every race live on Stan plus the Australian Grand Prix and a few selected races simulcasted on Nine.

For now, Motorsport is back on Nine since the World Rally Championship was previously there during the Australian Round a few years ago.

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Can’t believe this when Stan Sport is going way faster next year that goes from athletic sports such as Rugby Union, Tennis & Soccer to motor sports like IndyCar, World Rallying & World Endurance Championship.

This is going to be intense competition up against the likes of Foxtel, who currently covers Formula 1, Supercars, MotoGP & Superbikes, which does tell why race fans would have to fork out a few different subscription services if they wish to watch every premium racing competition just like the soccer.

While Stan will offer the whole lot of IndyCar, World Rallying and Endurance sportscars through every session live without ads, there are several reports about Foxtel’s successful renewal of Formula 1 from 2023 but nothing official came out at this stage.

There significant changes to the new MotoGP contract from next year, however, with Foxtel & Kayo acquiring the exclusive content to every race that includes the possibility of Seven or SBS airing the Australian Round live as Network 10 will no longer air motorcycle racing after covering them for 25 years.

Ten still has a season left in their current Formula 1 contact with Foxtel where they’ll get to air a live race at home for the first time in two years due to COVID, but if Foxtel officially renews Formula 1 for another five years then don’t expect Ten to stay on as it’s best if they get the whole lot like they did with the A-League, Socceroos & Matildas rather than having to keep sharing with Foxtel.

For now, it’s great to see Nine as a whole media organisation return into Motorsports & show it only on Stan but hopefully they can get them back on their free to air channel at least for the Australian GP & a couple of selected races if they can steal the Formula 1 content away from Foxtel which is unlikely at this stage but we’ll wait and see in the next few months.

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There is a bit more news lately from Network 10. It is in regards of their Motorsports coverage for this season.

The good news is that they are still showing Formula 1 & Moto GP. With every premier class round live on 10 Bold. Plus Moto 2 & 3 for the Australian round only.

As well as every highlights round of the Formula 1 here on Monday night. Except the Australian Grand Prix. Where this big event will be live on November 21 via 10.

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When the Supercars rights were not renewed after last year. Although 10 will air the Albert Park race only as part of the Australian GP. With this one-off occasion is covered by F1. And not via Supercars. People were wondering about the future status of flagship show RPM. I rang 10 up a while ago. Unfortunately they will not be in production to shoot & make episodes this year. That is according to the 10 spokesperson/receptionist via phone.

This is the 3rd time that RPM had to be put off by Network 10. This show was born in 1997 when they first snatched the Supercars rights. As an exclusive deal off Channel 7. Plus MotoGP, World Rally Championship & Champ Car. With Formula One added in their list in 2003.

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Despite the exit of Supercars the first time after 2006 RPM stayed on for another two years. Back then they had full race content of every race. Then the launch of One HD in 2009 taken RPM off the air.

In 2011 RPM was back on One HD for a second time. This time as a Live Motorsports magazine show on Tuesday nights. But One HD unfortunately shied away as a Sports only channel not long later. And it was not hard from Network 10 to put RPM away for the 2nd time in 2012.

Three years later RPM came back once more. After 10 snatched the Supercars away from Seven for the 2nd time. But this time in a scaled down deal with Fox Sports until last year. When not only the Supercars contract returned to Seven in a similar deal. This show had to go as well.

She was unable to point out Supercars as the reason for this decision. But when 10 Sport does not have much sports on the menu. It is right to pull their RPM show away. And focus on what they got left with the F1, MotoGP & Melbourne Cup. While focusing more on news/entertainment.

We will have to wait and see what 10 says about MotoGP after 2021. And see if they would like to stay onboard. Having enjoyed a great relationship with them since 1997. The same goes with Formula One in 2022. Plus the Melbourne Cup when they expire by the end of 2023.

If all of the three products go to let’s say Kayo freebies. This could mean the end of 10 sport. There is no comment about them wanting to leave this arena. As long as it makes commercial sense. The only way this can continue if 10 can win the NRL Free TV rights off Nine. It is a very popular sport. And there is no doubt they will need this to reflect their brand/profitability.

Image Reference: Wikipedia

For now it remains to be seen who will still be at Network 10. We already know Matthew Burke will continue to read the sports news. As he will not jump ship to Nine/Stan for the rugby. But Morgan Turinui & Roz Kelly did move there.

Scott Mackinnon has always been on 10 for a long time. We do not know where his weekly role stands right now. But he would definitely be at the Australian Grand Prix.

So does the 1980 Formula 1 champion Alan Jones. Plus Mark Webber & Tom Clarkson. 10 is unsure if they will stick with their own commentary. Since Matthew White was made redundant during May last year. Plus we do not know if Kate Peck will move on after the 3rd axing of RPM.

And the MotoGP team should remain unchanged. With Host Sam Charlwood at the helm. As well as former racers Daryl Beattie and Cameron Donald. Before they cross over to the World Feed commentary.

That is the 10 Sport fixtures in a nutshell here. Most of the weekends/Monday morning belong to Motorsport. While the horses take their turn in early November.

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I may not be a regular Supercars follower these days, but tomorrow’s possible announcement from their end will be interesting.

That would be a new TV rights deal that will begin over the next five years starting from 2021.

As we know, Network 10 chose not to renew the TV contract due to loss-making revenue in this free to air product that only aired just six to seven live races a year plus the rest belonged to highlights.

It’s fair to say that Network 10 made the right move because this strategy didn’t provide maximum value compared to the last time they held the Supercars rights exclusively from 1997-2006.

The latter proved to be the golden years that got the best out of Leigh Diffey, Greg Rust, Neil Crompton, Mark Howard & Bill Woods rather than taking off a straight Supercars Media commentary feed.

Now Channel 7 will most likely re-take the free to air package for the first time since 2014.

Since Seven is the No.2 free to air TV network in Australia, the ratings in this series should improve this time around or at an equal standard where they aired every race live from 2007-2014.

Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, Seven will pay at a bit cheaper rate at $4 million per year compared to Network 10’s $8 million an annum to use Supercars’ limited-access free to air content.

The question is how Seven will air these races?

As usual, the six big-event races will remain a primary network on Channel 7. So no change there.

But I think Seven should get some upgrade regarding airing the remaining races of each Supercars season.

That would be airing a mix of Saturday night highlights & Sunday afternoon races live on 7mate and 7plus.

For race and sports fans wanting to watch on the go for free, you’re in luck, which is one area that improves as Network 10 doesn’t have these rights.

In my opinion, I’d like to see the remaining Sunday races live on Seven ONLY at noon in all states as an excellent foil towards the Sunday Afternoon AFL coverage if you live in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, or Western Australia.

But having the remaining races on 7mate is alright; at least the Sunday races are LIVE and not on delay or highlights.

Plus, re-adding Supercars alongside the Bathurst 12 Hour & ARG Motorsport of Touring Cars, Trans-Am & Formula S5000 reflects a brilliant history of Seven’s coverage with cars since 1963.

Yes, Fox Sports will always have the exclusive say of things as injecting money into Supercars is crucial to stay afloat.

That way, Supercars can keep producing their in-house media arm for Fox & Seven and investing in other areas requiring attention.

But the need for a bit more free Supercars content makes both sides win this time around.

And you see Seven inheriting a low-rating product from Network 10 in the hope of turning it into something valuable.

The big-event races on Seven are still intact, plus the remaining Sunday races LIVE on 7mate & 7plus all for FREE is a great move.

Now we will have to wait if Seven will use their in-house commentary or likewise from Network 10, take a straight feed from Fox Sports of Neil Crompton and Mark Skaife in the booth.

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