By Jonathan Porter
If you want to hear the roar of high-performance engines, as well as seeing some of the best riders and cars in the business, then Clipsal 500 Adelaide from March 2-5, 2017 is for you.
The race outshines most others in the nation as the city embraces the race vibe with attendances the highest of any round in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Adding to this high-octane mix is that the race falls in “Mad March” – the time of year when Adelaide truly lets its hair down.
Over 260,000 people attended in 2016 – enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground nearly three times over – while the nearest other Supercar events held nationally, of Bathurst and Gold Coast, boast just under 200,000.
Tickets to the event start at $45 for general entry, but if the roar of engines paired with the tunes of the Hilltop Hoods are your thing, $121 will give you access to the Grandstand and prime position to enjoy the concert.
Gruelling obstacle course
For racegoers, one of the highlights of 2016 was the debut of the Enduro-X, which pitched some of the world’s best motocross riders against each other over a gruelling obstacle course. In 2017, it will be bigger and badder with riders battling it out on the most gruelling man-made obstacle course yet – a hybrid Enduro-X and Supercross track, making its worldwide exclusive debut at Clipsal500 Adelaide
Exclusive to Adelaide, the New Holland Enduro-X powered by Minster Energy is only for the gutsiest, with some of the world’s hottest riders agreeing that it is by far the most challenging track yet to be conceived by its cunning designers.
Australian superstar, Toby Price, USA X-Games gold medallist Mike Brown and 13-time women’s world champion Laia Sanz are among top riders secured for the event.
Australian 2016 Dakar Rally Champion Toby Price says that after last year’s running of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide Enduro-X he was “blown away by the support and enthusiasm from the South Australian fans”.
“Coming to Adelaide for the Clipsal 500 is always special because there’s so much happening. Enduro-X is a really exciting and action-packed form of racing which is still quite new to Australia.”
“It was the first running of the event but it honestly felt like the event had been established for many years,” says Price.
“It was a real treat for all competitors to be able to compete on what I think is the ‘Big Stage.’ In 2017 Clipsal 500 Adelaide will be taking this genre of motorsport to the next level combining both Enduro-X and Supercross, which is something I’m really psyched about.
Banging bars for the top spot
“Combining the two genres means we’ll have two different professions ‘banging bars’ over four days to take the top step on the podium.”
He says he and his crew are looking forward to trying out the challenging new track, which takes 11 days to build, consists of 800 tonnes of earth, 180 logs, 10 tonnes of beach sand, 30 tonnes of rock, 25 tonnes of tyres, and is overseen by 30 marshals and five ground staff.
And being in Adelaide during Mad March is a bonus, he says.
“Before the race there is huge hype and a great atmosphere right around the city.
“Then during the race we are all fully concentrating, making sure we do all the right things to get the best result. After the race, it’s great to catch up with the crew and mechanics and have a beer and a nice meal – there is always something happening – and before you know it, it’s time for the next adventure.”
Although that next adventure won’t be happening until after the main event – the Enduro-X Cup on the evening of March 3.
After that, all bets are off for Price as “There are always great places in Adelaide to enjoy.”
Yet Clipsal 500 Adelaide goes a lot further than Enduro-X and the Supercars. There are eight categories of racing, two post-race concerts and over 50 other attractions including the two concerts featuring the Hilltop Hoods and the Hunters & Collectors as headline acts.
What makes it especially unique and a favourite among the drivers and teams is the circuit adjoins the eastern side of the CBD offering a rare chance to compete on a street circuit that runs so close to the hub of a major city.
Adding to the adrenaline is a host of entertainment including amusement rides, fun runs, aerial displays and performances. Don’t miss legendary rock band Hunters & Collectors reunite for a one-off performance on March 4, or hip-hop icons Hilltop Hoods, who will headline the Friday night line up. Concert Green returns with pop-up bars, food outlets and a superscreen, so you can kick back without missing a minute of the action. At ADF Oval, catch awesome aerial displays from the Australian Defence Force or get your thrills on amusement rides like Dodgem Cars, the Ali Baba and Rock Wall Climb. Visit the Hall of Fames, which pays homage to the greats of motorsport, or Supercars Paddock to get an autograph from your favourite drivers.
As part of Mad March in Adelaide, the city will be overflowing with live theatre, music and dance performances, art installations and pop up venues as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival of Arts and WOMADelaide. March also gives organisers the best chance of good weather adding to the city’s famous party atmosphere.
Tickets for the event are available through TicketMaster, and travel packages are available through official travel providers on the website below.
Tickets for the 2017 Clipsal 500 Adelaide are now available and kids under 12 are free.
Virgin Australia flies to Adelaide from all major Australian cities. Most major hire car companies are at Adelaide Airport.