How Tickford Racing adapted to an ever-changing Supercars season
This year’s Supercars Championship season has been a unique one, with a cavalcade of calendar and location changes taking place in response to the evolving restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teams weren’t deterred, though, working hard to implement safety precautions to ensure the events could race on. For the team at Tickford and Truck Assist Racing, this meant moving quickly to gather their equipment and head out on the road ahead of a looming lockdown in Melbourne. To learn more about what it took to keep the races going, we asked the crew what they had to say about the experience, ahead of the first of two events at The Bend this weekend.
What was the biggest challenge in relocating your office from Victoria to Sydney?
Matty Roberts, Team Manager: “The biggest challenge from Melbourne to Sydney was just the sudden impact that it had on everyone. Straight away there were so many unknowns, and we just had to tell everyone to just get out of Victoria for now, and we’ll sort everything else out as we get information. As it turned out, we’ve been on the road for 10 weeks now. I think everyone’s adapted to that road life, and we’re still going.”
What impressed you most about how the team managed to successfully relocate?
Matty Roberts, Team Manager: “One thing that impressed me the most is the camaraderie and everyone’s willingness to keep racing. Without them we don’t exist, so it’s a massive credit to the whole entire team. Some days things would change by the hour, and day in, day out they’ve overcome hurdles to keep us going. We’ve also grown a lot closer as a group, which has been pretty cool, and we’ll come out of this knowing each other a lot better than before we hit the road.”
Are there any advantages to having a travelling office?
Colin Schwartz, Truck Driver and Tyre Specialist: “It’s definitely cut the travel down. We’re not traveling to Darwin, back to Melbourne, to Townsville, back to Melbourne, so it’s less kilometres to travel and less time on the road. For my work with tyres, it’s pretty normal still, but there are fewer tyres than we usually have at a race round, especially pre-marked tyres, so you’re just using the tyres from the previous round.”
What does a day look like on the road with Tickford Racing, and what has been the biggest change?
Sam Scaffidi, Car 5 Engineer: “It’s pretty much the same as it was pre-COVID. I’m looking at data, getting prepared for the next round, doing set-ups making sure we’re going to be quick straight away, because that’s pretty important now with the condensed schedules at race meetings, and just other things focused on making the car quicker and helping Lee get ready for the next round.”
What are you liking about being on the road with the team?
Mitch Robinson, Public Relations Manager: “Our days off have been fun! We’re not at home so we end up going places and doing things we normally wouldn’t be able to. For a normal race event we usually fly in on Thursday and fly out Sunday night, so we don’t have time to get out and enjoy where we are. We’re fortunate on this trip that we’ve been to some pretty cool places, so when we have days off we can get out and go fishing, hang out on the beach, go to theme parks, and getting to do that with the guys has built our relationships with each other as well. It’s been a lot of work with a little bit of holiday, but we’re making the most of that little bit where we can.”
How has your team grown through this experience?
Mitch Robinson, Public Relations Manager: “Everyone’s grown a lot closer the past few months. I guess it’s just enforced facetime, but we spend all day together whether we’re at work or not. We’ve worked hard but have had plenty of laughs and good times along the way, and I think that’s made us more cohesive as a team. This trip has definitely had its challenges, but I think we’ll all walk away from this feeling a lot closer as a group.”
Is there anything you’ll take away from this experience and utilise in the upcoming seasons?
Ben Wheeler, Car 5 Mechanic: “Patience for sure. This whole experience has been a rollercoaster and while we’ve had some fun along the way there have been plenty of challenges as well. As a team we spend every minute of the day together, so you’re bound to have ups and downs there, and with things changing as often as they have with the calendar you just have to be patient sometimes and let things work themselves out. So I’ll definitely take that away.”
Be sure to tune in to the races on 19 and 20 September, and you can also follow Isuzu Australia on Instagram for highlights from the event throughout the weekend.