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TCR Australia

The 2024 Bathurst 6 Hour race will be aired on SBS (yes, on the main channel) during the Easter long weekend since this event has been run and sold separately by Australian Racing Group & not Motorsport Australia who looks after SpeedSeries. The last two Bathurst 6 Hour editions in 2022-23 was covered by Nine and Stan Sport where there was a bit of free-to-air access with the following week race highlights as well as live qualifying only last year. However, the race itself was only paywalled via Stan Sport before Motorsport Australia took back media rights control off ARG at the end of last season that saw the end of Nine/Stan covering SpeedSeries on what has been an underwhelming paid and free TV experiment, with Seven now back onboard again for all races being live & free throughout the year. It will basically be a full endurance race that runs for a few hours throughout Sunday from 11.30am to 6pm with qualifying on the day beforehand alongside a couple of other production car support categories into play including the Australian Formula Ford open-wheel series. Like SpeedSeries, I’m sure it will be a great event if you want to tune in for motorsport on the TV throughout the Easter weekend.

Speaking of SBS, they are back for another season of the Australian Superbike Championship where Chris Vermeulen will be replacing Kate Peck as the host/reporter while retaining every race highlights of the World Superbike Championship that will air the following weekend after the race (if you wish to watch the live races, it’s on Fox Sports via Foxtel and Kayo Sports) and of course the main Speedweek show too on Sunday afternoons.

Speaking of Bathurst, the Bathurst International may still go ahead later this November to round off the 2024 SpeedSeries season but unfortunately the best of the TCR drivers from around the world won’t be back here including the Sydney Motorsports Park round now being cancelled despite originally planning to do so. It’s a shame but the ongoing shipping delays worldwide has saw the organisers that run the TCR World Tour skip Australia just for this year. There is hope though of having Australia v the best of the World rivalry back again at our own backyard only at Mount Panorama in Bathurst for 2025.

And last but not least, Matt White has a new motorsports media job coming up and he will now be commentating the Supercars races on radio for SEN starting this weekend with the Bathurst 500 season-opening race alongside experienced Supercars driver James Moffatt as the expert/colour commentator. He has been in this business for a long time when he first started his career at Ten back in the early 90s, then moved to Seven between 2004-14, back to Ten for another few years until mid-2020, later appeared on Nine for the first time over the last two years via Stan Sport for SpeedSeries before the competition moved back to Seven & now he’s back behind the mic again this time for radio in Supercars. Don’t forget he’s done a lot of stuff with SEN since he left Ten again like hosting his own daily sports talk show during weekday mornings including rugby league and cricket commentary. So still plenty to offer, especially when he returned to commentary for a short time filling-in for Richard Craill late last year in the Australian Trans-Am Series. We wish him all the best in his new role.

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SpeedSeries has returned for another new season that started today at Sandown Raceway in Victoria where a few categories have came back, while some have came into the fold for the first time on what is going to be a huge year ahead – including the Bathurst 6 Hour during the Easter long weekend, as well as the TCR World Tour drivers coming back again to take on the Aussie field this November at Eastern Creek (Sydney Motorsports Park) & Bathurst (Mount Panorama Circuit) respectively.

But there’s also a change of broadcaster too as Seven has returned replacing Nine & Stan Sport as their broadcast partner for the next two years. Yes, the shift of having most of the stuff behind the paywall including elements of free-to-air content didn’t work out for the majority. Although if they did add the three-hour Sunday races on top of the three-hour Saturday coverage including the Bathurst 6 Hour race, then it wouldn’t be bad. However, it was the change of hands from Australian Racing Group back to Motorsport Australia that led to Nine/Stan leaving the series also after two years when ARG brought them here exactly two years ago. Before that, Seven first broadcasted the competition in 2021 (the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID) before the split paywall experiment while SBS aired the inaugural TCR Australia season for one year in 2019.

Now most of the broadcast graphics including the leaderboard haven’t changed much except the SpeedSeries logo being moved from the bottom right to the bottom left. Same goes with the broadcast team like Chris Stubbs (he will still be on Stan’s grand slam Tennis coverage throughout the year as he’s freelance), Matt Naulty, Richard Craill & Greg Rust. Although one new face have now come onboard front & centre in Sarah Burt as a few will be moved on. We won’t be seeing ex-Supercars driver Fabian Coulthard & Rally legend Molly Taylor back again. So does Matt White, who not only appeared on Nine for the first time over the last two years as host after he spent so much time between Seven & Ten, but he also returned to commentary for a bit towards the end of last season in the Trans-Am alongside Naulty due to Craill having to focus on the TCR World Tour’s Australian leg with Rust and Paul Jeffrey.

Another thing we won’t have to put up is Nine’s inability on not wanting to use the Wide World of Sports watermark as seen with the SpeedSeries’ free-to-air broadcasts last year where Seven & even Ten and SBS has presented it so nicely when it comes to their motorsports coverage. But I doubt it won’t go away anytime soon since they barely broadcast any racing until Stan Sport was born back in 2021 when Nine will get to air a bit again Live during the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June with parent streaming subsdiary Stan still holding the rights there alongside IndyCar, Formula E, Rallying, Motocross & the World Endurance Championship. So there goes your SpeedSeries broadcast guide this season other than Supercars being on Seven for half the time as well as Fox Sports who holds all of the races including Formula 1, NASCAR & MotoGP & both Australian Grand Prix events will stay on Network 10. And that is that for now as we wish SpeedSeries all the best going forward in growing the competition towards better milestones for Motorsport in Australia.

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So there we have it! SpeedSeries including Trans-Am and TCR Australia will return to the Seven Network next season after two years out at Nine through its paid streaming service Stan Sport as well as some free-to-air on 9Gem/9Go & also 9Now. Every round will be live and free on its free streaming platform 7Plus as well as through 2-3 hour TV windows on 7mate. Plus, there should be free to view on-demand replays, the Bathurst 6 Hour Easter race and mid-week to next weekend TV highlights of each round.

Gotta say that the paid and free content split did not work out when SpeedSeries is not on the same level as Supercars, even if Fox/Kayo did share the series with Seven instead of Nine/Stan who did a great job covering SpeedSeries. It’s just that the change of media rights hands back to Motorsport Australia recently from Australian Racing Group makes it complicated when most of their sanctioned competitions are on Seven.

But having everything free-to-air is massive so every Motorsport fan here can check this out whether it’s watching Live or on-demand at anytime, anywhere throughout the year. It also remains to be seen who will be back next year when it comes to the on-air talent where most of them will be staying on except with just 1-2 changes, which I think Mark Beretta will be back for Matt White since he’s always been on Seven with Motorsport as well as reading sports reports for the Sunrise brekky program for a long time.

Other than the Nine and Stan exit, it looks like the S5000s and Touring Car Masters will be following them out the door as they could end up being a regular part of the Supercars schedule. Although the Australian GT World challenge will look to stay on the SpeedSeries categories list after SRO has taken full control recently alongside the Australian GT4 Series.

For now, you can catch these last two-hour replays from the Bathurst International season finale weekend on 9Go tomorrow at noon, as well as midnight Sunday 12.20am that is followed by an hour highlights from the 6 Hours of Bahrain (also a season finale round) in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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We didn’t see this coming when there was an update today by V8 Sleuth that Nine and Stan Sport won’t be back covering SpeedSeries next season after two seasons thanks to the recent change of media rights control back to Motorsport Australia, not Australian Racing Group who brokered the deal with Nine/Stan at the beginning of last year.

Yes, Stan will continue to show IndyCar, Formula E, World Endurance Championship, World Rally Championship & Motocross next season as per promos during the Bathurst International weekend, but there’s no SpeedSeries on this list which has the main reason as to why these question marks has been raised. But then it would also be complicated for Motorsport Australia to keep Nine & Stan onboard covering SpeedSeries when the rest of their sanctioned competitions are covered by Seven. We don’t know how the coverage will look like going forward but we expect to see more free-to-air coverage since it will either be on Seven or SBS who both don’t have their own streaming arms, although a paid component will still be the crucial (expecting to be Fox Sports & Kayo) likewise with the Nine/Stan deal in order to keep the $$$ going for all participants involved.

As said, glad SpeedSeries is growing as seen with both TCR Australia & Trans-Am competitions as well as some International flavour with the help from TCR World Tour guys over the last two weeks including the way how the coverage is spread out by having a balance of both free and paid content, which is in a better place now than it was the start of last season. Let’s hope it stays that way going forward while Nine should finally have the WWOS logo on-air if they do air live Motorsport again.

It was also great seeing Matt White covering back Motorsport over the last two years here including his recent return commentating the Trans-Am races with Matt Naulty. He too finally appeared on Nine for the first time during Nine/Stan’s debut coverage with SpeedSeries in February last year after spending half the time out of his three-decade TV career at Seven & Ten. It remains to see where he will end up next after the Nine/Stan exit other than his daily sports radio job. For now, we wish SpeedSeries including its respective categories via its teams and drivers as well as the broadcasting talent the best of luck in the near future!!

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First of all, I’m glad that SpeedSeries –  which showcases a range of categories from TCR Australia to Trans-Am & S5000 single seaters – has improved their free to air coverage this year with every race live throughout the season during Saturday afternoons. That way, if you like how the coverage and racing is like, then you can watch the rest of the weekend’s events including a full suite on-demand content only via subscription on Stan Sport.

When Nine came onboard to replace Seven at the start of last year by having most of the content behind a paywall via their own streaming arm at Stan Sport, it was initially just the opening round weekend at Symmons Plains Raceway in Tassie live on free-to-air with the rest being mid-week & next weekend two-hour replays. They even promised to put the mid-week stuff on prime time at one point to get the best out of the channel’s advertisers as well as the series itself.

But then their free-to-air highlights schedule was inconsistent & all over the place at the time while they didn’t show the Phillip Island round live at all. So to respond to that issue, they went on air the rest of 2022 with just the Saturday afternoon races Live in a two-hour window between 3-5pm. Now it’s gone from two to three hours per round with the amount of time allowed on free-to-air between 2-5pm where they showed more than just TCR Australia, Trans-Am & S5000s. Plus, their following week’s two-hour replays has improved consistently as well that starts on a Friday at noon followed by a 2nd showing either late on Saturday night or in the early hours of Sunday AM.

I’m also glad to see some International flavour when it comes to seeing the world’s best TCR drivers come here v the locals (TCR Australia) as part of the two-round TCR World Tour Australian leg here over the course of last weekend in Eastern Creek and also this weekend at Bathurst’s famed Mount Panorama Circuit. There is still one more day to go where the next day’s activities tomorrow is only on Stan Sport before the eight-round TCR Australia & SpeedSeries is done for 2023.

The only negative still out of this improved free-to-air coverage is the way Nine uses their logo which isn’t the usual Wide World of Sports watermark, although Stan Sport has made good use by showcasing their logo for the all the sports they got including Motorsport. Instead, they gone straight off 9Gem/9Go with the Live tag below it which isn’t uniquely WWOS & more like a copycat coverage of Seven or Ten, who airs racing way long enough & very well than Nine. I have also emailed my concerns to Stan about it a few months ago & although they took note of it but then they never listen. Maybe that’s because Nine & Stan are only showing it on the air & not have complete control in-house, which is under SpeedSeries itself.

There is also talk about next season’s broadcast lately since Motorsport Australia will now handle the media side of things rather than the Australian Racing Group, having taken half the control of SpeedSeries ARG that began at the start of 2023. Maybe the exit of Supercars Media running the production with the TV trucks control & graphics before the 2023 season started has probably caused Nine to revert to the 9Gem/9Go logo rather than the WWOS logo which was previously used for most of last year except Round 1. Now there is a chance that Nine as an exclusive rights holder may not be back next season.

If they’re really coming back, then great. If there is plenty of SpeedSeries articles up on the WWOS website which happens regularly, so why can’t this be extended on TV? Let’s hope it finally happens if Nine/Stan stays on. If not, we could see SpeedSeries go to Seven & Fox Sports or Ten/Paramount +. Regardless of that, the balance of having both paid & free content is here to stay that needs to cover the $$$ back to all types of participants involved as they will be back to set even more breakthroughs in 2024.

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The Bathurst International was held this weekend, and boy oh boy it did not disappoint. For those who don’t know, the Bathurst International is a weekend with plenty of racing in a lot of different categories. So let’s look over the highlights from the Trans-Am and TCR Australia.

In the Trans-Am, Nathan Herne took the pole position for Race 1, and managed to hang on to it for a great win for him and Team Valvoline. He managed to hold off the Supercheap Auto of Nash Morris, as well as the TPS Caravans of Brett Holdsworth and the Garry Rogers car piloted by Owen Kelly. After a less than ideal practice, Benjamin Grice made a fantastic recovery and was in the top 10 by lap 3. However, the Safety Car was brought out for a spin by Zach Losicalpo at Murray’s Corner, where he became beached. At the end of Race 1, Nathan Herne took the top step of the podium, with Owen Kelly and Holdsworth completing the top 3.

In Race 2, Nathan Herne could not be stopped and stormed to another win. It was a front-row lockout for the Garry Rogers Mustangs, but an error from Owen Kelly at Hell Corner allowed Herne to pull away, with Holdsworth getting racy with Kelly at Griffin’s Bend. There was a shunt between the SupaFSeries Mustang and the Chevy of John Holinger at Forrest’s Elbow. Zach Loscialpo made a great recovery from last on the grid, crossing the line in 11th place. Herne took the second win of the weekend, with Holdsworth in second, but contact at the high-speed Chase corner between Morris and Kelly allowed Lochie Dolton to finish the podium.

In the Turtle Wax 100, Nathan Herne once again took the chequered flag to round off his hat-trick of wins this weekend. There were some mega drives, with Aaron Teb and Jack Sipp up 11 and 8 places respectively. Even though Grice was still recovering from a crash in Practice, he was challenging in the top 5 throughout. Lochie Dalton got a bit too confident at the chase, beaching his car and bringing out a short Safety Car period. On the final lap, Robert Noaker had to roll into the pits with power loss, with Herne finishing first, with Ben Grice in second and Nash Morris in third to round off a great race and a great weekend of racing.

In the TCR, the opener was a great way to start off this weekend. Young hotshot Bailey Sweeney met the chequered flag first. For most of the title contenders it was a race to forget, riddled with retirements and struggle. It was an eventful race, with lots of great battles in the midfield. Kangaroos brought out the safety car on lap 12, which bunched the field up for even more close racing. At the restart, King passed Cox into 10th position, which is essential for his title hopes. Hanson had a heavy shunt at Reid Park, but emerged relatively unharmed. At the flag, it was Sweeny from O’Keeffe and Morcom to round off the top 3.

Will Brown won the final TCR race of the weekend, but missed out on the title. That honour went to Tony D’Alberto, who took the 2022 TCR Australia Championship. Will Brown put in all the effort, with some spectacular overtakes to put himself in the lead, but D’Alberto managed to maintain 11th to give him enough points to clinch the title. There were plenty of battles throughout with a few scrapes and retirements. The top 3 were Will Brown, Bailey Sweeny and Josh Buchan, with D’Alberto taking the title by 2 points.

What a great weekend the Bathurst International turned out to be, but next year will definitely be even better! See you then!

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It’s good to see a mix of new front runners earlier today during Race 2 of TCR Australia, especially when Michael Caruso led for the majority from reverse pole in the No.10 Alfa Romeo Giuietta, after the original polesitter Lachlan Mineeff (No.14 MPC Audi RS3) had to start from pit lane. 

Sadly, a mechanical issue cost Caruso the win he desperately wanted to for Ashley Seward Motorsport which was a huge blow. That paves the way for Jay Hanson, who made plenty of spots through the field, before he chased down his Melbourne Performance Centre team-mate Will Brown in a battle of the best Audis (RS3) for the win. 

Then we move onto Race 3 where Hanson remained running inside the Top 3, but couldn’t get past both Hondas where they have dominated once again. Tony D’Alberto had an amazing weekend at Queensland Raceway with 2 of out 3 wins for Wall Racing ahead of Zac Soutar, who finished 2nd twice in both Race 1 from yesterday & Race 3 earlier this afternoon.

And there’s still a lot of thrills and spills being spun across the race track over in the Trans-Am. But what hasn’t changed is Nathan Herne controlling the entire grid after he completed a clean sweep all weekend long in the No.1 Ford Mustang for Garry Rogers Motorsports. 

Good to see his team-mate Owen Kelly rebound from the opening lap trouble in Race 1 yesterday with back-to-back third places today, while Jett Johnson never looked out of place in the Top 3-4. And Supercars regular Brodie Kostecki just completed his one-off stint in the No.66 Chevy Camaro here; he finished 6th earlier in Race 2 after a stellar start yesterday in 3rd during Race 1 before he added another podium this time in 2nd in Race 3. We wish Brodie all the best as we hope to see him fulfill his ambitions in the NASCAR Cup Series, even if it’s a partial ride effort next year.

What a weekend it has been at Queensland Raceway after three long years when they last hosted there before COVID got in the way. We can’t wait for Sandown Raceway in Melbourne on the 14-16th next month, with two rounds left in this year’s ARG SpeedSeries season.

For now, make sure you sign up a seven-day Stan Sport free trial right now on top of the usual $10 basic subscription to catch up every race live and ad-free alongside on-demand replays and highlights. It will also be another $10 for the Sports pack if you’re happy with their motorsports content such as IndyCar, Formula E, World Endurance Championship, World Rally Championship and Motocross beyond the seven days.

If not, Nine will continue to roll out a two-hour highlights package for free that looks back from this weekend’s event at Queensland Raceway. Tune in the following times on Thursday evening at 11pm-1am on 9Go, as well as Saturday 10am-12pm on 9Gem & next Sunday at 2-3.50 pm on 9Go.

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Yesterday afternoon of ARG SpeedSeries racing at Queensland Raceway was full of twists and turns, where losing control or being collected into the gravel can cost you a few spots or even dearly. It changed the course of these opening respective races with the Trans-Am & TCR Australia.

We’ll start with the TCRs and what a day it has been for Tony D’Alberto in the No.50 Honda Civic Type-R for Wall Racing. Not only he set and started pole position but he too took the opening race win which was too easy from start to finish. While Zac Soutar would’ve love to have a close sniff of Tony and challenge him for top spot, but he‘s happy to finish 2nd also in the same Honda car & hopefully go one better for the next two Sunday races.

And it’s good to see Jay Hanson back on the podium in 3rd for the Melbourne Performance Centre organisation, as well as Bailey Sweeny in 5th behind Aaron Cameron (No.18 Peugeot 308 for Garry Rogers Motorsport) following an opening lap scare through the grass that cost him a few spots. Although, Sweeny’s team-mate Nathan Morcom was unlucky to be taken out by Ben Bargwanna into the gravel.

Then we go into Trans-Am where we also saw another driver who was too good with Nathan Herne in the No.1 Ford Mustang for Garry Rogers Motorsport. He has no problems getting the job done from pole position to dominating the entire field, especially when some drivers behind him was collected through the gravel on the opening lap. While some slip and spills continue across the race track, it’s great to see 17-year-old Jett Johnson finish 2nd after he got around Supercars regular Brodie Kostecki in 3rd with credit from these restarts. So awesome seeing Brodie spend the weekend here as he hopes to fulfil his NASCAR aspirations over in the US next year, especially when he was being linked with Trackhouse Racing’s 3rd part-time Cup car that has a specific focus on International drivers.

Can’t wait for Races 2 & 3 later today with TCR & Trans-Am to round off Round 5 of 7 in the 2022 SpeedSeries season.

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It’s been a bit over two months when we last had SpeedSeries at Eastern Creek with the TCR Australia, Trans-Am & S5000. Although the main S5000 portion may be done, but SpeedSeries is back at Queensland Raceway (Ipswich) this weekend for Round 5 of 7 in the 2022 season.

There’s plenty of exciting headlines to look ahead when we’ve got a jam-packed Trans-Am grid of 29 cars alongside a couple of debutants from Tom Hayman (Aussie Racing Cars), Jack Sipp (Super2) & Brodie Kostecki (Supercars).

Plus, TCR Australia will make up their half-century milestone at 50 races during Race 2 this Sunday. And it has been a long time since the TCRs last raced there in QLD three years ago when the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID, while this track wasn’t selected out of the shortened five-race calendar last year.

This is one huge event you don’t wanna miss as Nine will once again put Race 1 of the Trans-Am & TCR Australia this Saturday afternoon on their free-to-air channels via 9Go (NSW/QLD/ACT/NT) or 9Gem (VIC/SA/WA), with the whole weekend’s activities being a Stan Sport exclusive. Then as usual, Nine will showcase a two-hour highlights package the following weekend (August 13-14) on 9Gem/9Go.

You can sign up to Stan Sport for a seven-day free trial right now to watch every race live, as well as, full event replays & highlights. It only costs $20 a month to keep your fix of motorsport at any time, anywhere within Australia, such as, Formula E, IndyCar, World Rally Championship, Motocross and many more.

I would love to watch another SpeedSeries race live on free-to-air, having watched the season opener earlier this year at Symmons Plains in Tasmania. But I will be leaning on Club Rugby with Shute Shield regular season finale at North Sydney Oval at the same time between Northern Suburbs v Eastern Suburbs; That game will be live on 9Gem in NSW and ACT as well.

I will continue to keep a close eye though on the SpeedSeries from QLD within the next few days, while the Rugby Championship with the Wallabies & Australian Superbike Championship are back on my sports viewing fix also this weekend.

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What a Sunday afternoon it has been to close out the weekend here at Sydney Motorsports Park in Round 4 of the 2022 ARG SpeedSeries. We’ll start off with the S5000s where Tim Macrow fired off well from pole before he was spun off by Nathan Herne that cost him a few places, while race officials handed Herne a drive-through penalty at the same time.

As the race goes on, we saw a brilliant battle for 1st between Aaron Cameron & Joey Mawson before Cameron completed his payback with the win following his unfortunate opening lap DNF by Mawson into the wall from Race 2 earlier today. And James Golding finished his Sunday spell with two podiums in 2nd & 3rd, having made up lost time from a DNF Race 1 yesterday over a steering issue.

Then there’s the same opening lap drama over in the Trans-Am this time at Turn 1, when the No.67 of Nash Morris touched the wall before he collected Lochie Dalton in No.45 out of the park that led to the next couple of laps under caution. In the end though, Owen Kelly remained unchallenged from start to finish in 1st that followed up from an excellent Race 2 during the night session yesterday. Race 1 winner Nathan Herne became the biggest mover when it comes to track position from 22nd on the grid to 2nd, while Ben Grice rounds off the podium in 3rd.

And we finish our huge Sunday afternoon of ARG SpeedSeries with the TCR Australia category. Nathan Morcom adds another podium finish on top of an excellent Sunday performance from P3 earlier during Race 2 today in the No.11 Hyundai i30 N, but this time he takes home with the win which ended his drought on top of the podium since November 2019 at the Bend in South Australia. He did an excellent job getting around polesitter Jordan Cox on the inside line straight away from 2nd spot before he never looked back ever since, while team-mate Josh Buchan in the sister No.30 machinery completed a 1-2 sweep for their HMO Customer Racing team. And Cox would’ve liked to hunt down the HMO cars all race long, but he’s happy to prevent an all Hyundai Top 3 when he passed Luke King on the final lap for 3rd.

#SpeedSeriesAU #Motorsport #S5000 #TCRAustralia #TransAm #OwenKelly #AaronCameron #NathanMorcom #JoshBuchan #Hyundai #GarryRogersMotorsport #FordMustang #EasternCreek #HMOCustomerRacing

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