The Territory’s fastest Merlin Darwin Triple Crown in history has attracted more than 38,000 attendances as fans flocked to the Hidden Valley Raceway to watch the Supercars, Australian Superbikes, Stadium Super Trucks and more.
The weekend included the biggest Friday ever, with 10,000 people turning up. The second largest Friday crowd on record was 7000 in 2003.
Shane van Gisbergen won both Supercars races on Sunday, while Oli Bayliss, aged 17, won the Australian Superbikes round in his first year racing a Superbike.
A lucky few motorsports fans made a memory of a lifetime by going on a hot lap with a Supercars driver or a pillion ride with an Australian Superbikes rider.
They included the winners of the Merlin Garage Competition, who enjoyed all the action up close from Garage 33 in Pit Lane.
Other highlights for spectators included the Pit Lane Walk, where they got to meet their motorsports heroes and sneak a look inside the team garages.
Meanwhile, Bernard Fanning headlined the Saturday evening concert supported by Ball Park Music and the Territory’s own DRAFTDAY and Phoebe Olivia.
The Merlin Darwin Triple Crown is now the official Indigenous Round of the Supercars championship.
An artwork created specifically for the event by Larrakia artist Trent Lee was unveiled at this year’s event.
At the centre of the piece is a snake in the shape of the track at Hidden Valley.
Quotes from Minister for Major Events Natasha Fyles:
“This event has proven to be a massive hit for locals and a major tourism drawcard for interstate visitors to the Top End.
“We have seen thousands of spectators who have had a blast over this three-day jam-packed event which has put Darwin in the national spotlight.
“More than 50 drivers and riders came from all over Australia to the Top End for this event, bringing support crews with them. That means more people are filling our hotel rooms and enjoying everything the Territory has to offer.”
Quotes from Supercars CEO, Shane Howard:
“Thanks to all our loyal and passionate fans who make this event what it is. Thank you also to the Northern Territory Government and Northern Territory Major Events Company for putting together another memorable weekend here in the Top End.
“It’s fantastic to see thousands of fans trackside again and this year there has been something for everyone here in Darwin. Hidden Valley has a great history and tradition, and making this event Supercars’ official Indigenous Round will add another great element for the future.”
Quotes from Jamie Whincup, retiring Supercars driver:
“It was by far the biggest weekend we’ve had since Clipsal 2019. It’s fantastic to see a big event with plenty of people enjoying themselves. It’s great to be back with big crowds enjoying what we do. It’s dog eat dog out there and we fight hard, but at the end of the day hopefully we’re putting on great entertainment for anyone who comes to the circuit and watches on TV.”