Have you been missing the sound of roaring V8 engines, or the thrill of Australia’s biggest motorsport championship? Good news – you don’t have to wait much longer.
The upcoming 2020 Super Test gives you an early taste of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championships, when drivers and their teams return to the The Bend Motorsport Park for the official pre-season test day, on Tuesday, 18 February 2020. And the best part – attendance is FREE!
Whether you’re a serious rev head or simply enjoy the buzz of the racing atmosphere, the upcoming Supercars season is set to be action packed. And now for the very first time, The Bend is giving motorsport fans a preview of the season to come as the 2020 official test day venue, having only been part of the championship for two years – reiterating what the punters and the accolades are telling us – this track is the world’s best!
After being switched from a SuperSprint, The Bend now parts of the Pirtek Enduro Cup later this year, making this test day crucial for the participating drivers and teams, prior to the big weekend-long race held from 18-20 September.
With next week’s test, you can be one of the first to get an early look at Team Sydney the re-branded entry from Tekno Autosports (and for the die-hard fans, you’ll be excited to know that a couple of drivers have switched teams, those being: Chaz Mostert who has moved from Ford to Holden; Adelaide born, Todd Hazelwood has moved from Matt Stone Racing to Brad Jones Racing; and Kelly Racing has switched from Nissan to Mustang). So let’s see what this means for the championship.
If we haven’t already lost you with the racing talk, we should remind you that it’s free to attend. Yep, you heard right. We can hear your car keys jingling – better keep reading, there’s a few more surprises to come with our guide to getting race-ready.
Have a sleepover at the track
First things first, a place to lay your head should be on top of your list to organise. The Bend team has worked hard to provide accommodation for all styles, needs and number of guests. So if you’re planning to travel in from Melbourne or down from Adelaide for the event, why not take the opportunity to turn it into a mini-getaway?
Above: A glimpse of the scenery that comes with the track-view suites at Rydges Pit Lane Hotel.
One of the best parts about The Bend’s facility is that everything you need is right here. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the building when you stay in one of the modern and spacious suites at the Rydges Pit Lane Hotel. With room service at the touch of a button, and hospitality experts ready to make you feel right at home, your stay will be comfortable, classy and effortless (throw in some and the added luxuries of a gym facility, free high-speed wi-fi, and an onsite bar and restaurant, and you’re in for a real treat after a big day on the track).
Hint: if you’re looking for something especially awesome, it’s all about their track-view rooms. You’ll have all the luxuries previously mentioned, plus the addition of private balcony views over the race circuit – perfect for those that want to make the most of their experience and wake up looking directly over the world’s best motorsport venue (and if you’re up early enough, the sunrise’s are pretty spectacular out there too).
If you’re not shy of a sleep-in (we won’t judge – the beds are commmmfyyy!), or a chance to indulge in room service (breakfast in bed anyone?) while the testing begins at 8:30am, you can just pop on your robe, grab your fresh cuppa and move over to your exclusive balcony where you won’t miss a moment of action.
Above: You'll have everything you could possibly need (and more) when staying at the BIG4 Holiday Park.
But if the hotel isn’t your style, you can also try the trackside family-friendly accommodation, with a swag of new facilities and the option to bring your house on wheels.
Families, groups and campers LOVE The Bend’s BIG4 Holiday Park. Here you’ll have free range of the brand-new heated pool (with a slide), playground, free wi-fi, BBQs, camp kitchen, jumping pillow and laundry facility.
If you want the option to hide out in the aircon, upgrade to one of their fully equipped, open-plan deluxe cabins. Or, if you love the outdoors, you’ll have the choice of a powered site (personal en-suite and toilet options available), unpowered sites, a drive through site, and even a spot big enough to park a bus or RV.
Experiences all generations can enjoy
Of course all good road trips include a bit of sightseeing (and doing), so just a few of our region’s attractions you can visit along the way.
Above: Nothing like a bit of friendly competition around the karting track.
If you’re itching for a go behind the wheel, satisfy your craving for adrenaline with a couple laps around the 1.1km outdoor karting circuit in top speeds of up to 75 km/h. Even the youngest family members (5+ years old) can have a go. Or if you’re in for the thrill of the ride, experience race speeds in the passenger seat of a V8 Ford Mustang, Formula Toyota race car or even a new Superbike ride with their Hot Laps experience.
*These are popular – so avoid disappointment by booking ahead.
Above: A spot of river time in Murray Bridge is a must!
If you’re travelling here from Adelaide, our favourite places to stop include, Monarto Safari Park for some hands-on animal experiences, a quick selfie with Murray Bridge’s famous mythical Bertha the Bunyip before you drive over the historic Murray River road bridge, or a detour via the Langhorne Creek Wine Region to indulge in our award-winning wines, delicious share platters and rich history. There’s also The Big Olive and ‘Cosi’s Rhino’ on your way through Tailem Bend (and some darn fine coffee from our pals at Little Local Co in the main drag).
Above: You'll be wowed by the level of detail placed on the towering Coonalpyn Silo mural. Image: @theadams.
Don’t worry, our eastern-state friends – we have some places worth stopping for you too. The small farming town of Tintinara (or as locals like to call it, ‘Tinti’) has SA’s only free-to-play disc golf course – or ‘frisbee golf’, a nature playground for the kids, or just down the Dukes Highway from here, a stopover at the iconic Coonalpyn silos is an essential. Make sure you grab a plate of traditional Waffles and Jaffles from across the road, while you stand back to admire the incredible scale of the mural. If you’ve got a few extra hours and some time to burn, make a detour to the Lake Albert town of Meningie. Here you can find seafood tastings of famous Coorong Mullet with the team from Coorong Wild Seafood, or have a quick sip at Coorong Brewing Co while you watch the water pass you by.
A few of our other favourite places can be found in our blog here.
If you’re making a longer-trip out of it, and like to incorporate a bit of physical activity into your trip, then strap on the kayak, stand up paddleboard or bike and test out some of the trails and launch spots in this region (the sensation Coorong backdrop makes it all worth it!).
Check out our guide to the best water and land trails in the Coorong, here.
Where the drinks are cold, and the food is fresh
At The Bend, the drinks are best served cold – and you’ll find plenty of choices inside the well-stocked Apex Lounge, located on the ground floor. It’s also an ideal place to grab a barista-made coffee, lunch or a sweet treat after a browse of the classic and historic car display in the Welcome Centre.
Above: The comfortable, café style Apex Lounge is among many great dining options during your visit.
Heading upstairs, you’ll find the one of a kind FUEL Restaurant and Bar which gives you sweeping views over the world-class racing track while you dine. Open all 7 days of the week, you can trust Executive Chef Paul to serve up an incredible meal using only the freshest, high quality local produce. From here, you can grab a beverage from the bar and sit by the huge windows overlooking the racing, or walk out on the balcony floating right over Pit Lane and get stuck into the full force of racing atmosphere.
Above: The meals are on par with the stunning trackside views from the FUEL Restaurant.
Want to explore the site? Venture up another level to the rooftop (which will be exclusively opened up on the day of the Super Test) for a cracking vantage point over the whole park. Alternatively, you can also drive your own car around the outside of the track and watch from the Park n View areas too.
*If you plan to drop in for a meal, we recommend booking a table ahead of time.
Now that you have all of our suggestions, it seems crazy not to visit, right? Keep up to date with the 2020 Super Test event here, and start arranging your travel plans now. We’ll see you out on the track!