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Feature: The ultimate road trip

The 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship was run and won by mid-October, defying the odds as the COVID-19 pandemic hit throughout Australia. And it was the sacrifice from Victorian teams Erebus Motorsport, Kelly Racing, Team 18, Tickford Racing and Walkinshaw Andretti United that enabled the season to go ahead, as we explain in SupercarXtra Magazine issue #119.

20 December 2020

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #119.

It’s 11am on July 6, 2020, a week after the BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint. A toolbox meeting has been called at Erebus Motorsport in Dandenong, Melbourne. The team huddled around with big decisions needing to be made, and fast. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had announced the border was to close the following day. It was a time to decide whether to put your hand up and leave your family, friends and loved ones behind for an undefined period, or to stay put not knowing if and when the border would re-open so you could join your team again. Not an easy decision to make on the run.

At the same time, the other four Victorian teams were making plans. Kelly Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, Tickford Racing and Team 18 were all swept up in this collective dash to keep the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship alive in 2020. 

Erebus Motorsport managing director Shannen Kiely reflected: “At that point it [the road trip] was potentially for two to four weeks [away], but it ended up going for a little bit longer than that.” 

Kiely remembered the hurried departure from Victoria. “I knew we had to be out that night [July 6]” she recalled. 

“We originally thought it was the next night, but there was a difference between rural and metro [Melbourne]. 

“We had about five to six hours to put everything in the truck that we needed. And you also had to go home, pack bags and say goodbye to family. That goodbye was for a period of time and we didn’t really know how long.”

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