EAST End residents and Cessnock mayor Jay Suvaal are absolutely cheering after City of Newcastle (CN) decided this week to start restoration works, effectively ending its relationship with Supercars.
Newcastle East Residents Group member Christine Everingham said it was a huge win for the locals who had "worked their butts off" for the last seven years to see council give the Newcastle 500 the flick.
"This event is not one for Newcastle, it's really bad for businesses and a terrible burden on residents inside the circuit, there's no other circuit in Australia like ours with 2000 people living inside it - it was crazy from the start, absolute nonsense from the start," she said.
"We've just worked so hard for so long, there was no acknowledgement from anyone about the actual burden on Newcastle, on the businesses and residents.
"People out west, I don't blame them for thinking, 'why are we doing this?' because the council has never come clean and told people exactly what happens out there, there's no mea culpa, they've never said sorry to the residents and businesses about what we've lost over the years."
Just three weeks earlier, a letter from NSW Minister for Tourism John Graham to Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp confirmed discussions between the state government and Supercars about the future of the Newcastle 500 were ongoing.
In the letter, Mr Graham said the Newcastle 500 has been a "popular event" with visitors and broadcast viewers nationally since its introduction in 2017.
"Generating strong visitor expenditure for the Hunter region, the Newcastle 500 has delivered significant benefits to the broader Newcastle economy, stimulating local businesses, supporting jobs across multiple sectors and attracting visitors to the city," he said in the letter.
Mr Graham was asked if he would continue to push for a race in Newcastle despite council's decision to rip up the Supercars infrastructure, however he failed to respond to questions.
Ms Everingham said while she was looking forward to temporary crossings and roundabouts being replaced with permanent fixtures, the council needed to make clear to the state government that there's no future for Supercars in Newcastle.
"It has to stop, the end," she said.
In a motion passed on Tuesday night, councillors agreed to throw their support behind a Wine Country 500 event to keep Supercars in the Hunter region.
Cessnock mayor Jay Suvaal told the Newcastle Herald he has been in discussions with Destination Sydney Surrounds North, a branch of Destination NSW, in the hopes of a 2025 event.
On Wednesday, the council wrote to Supercars to express its interest in hosting the race.
"It's great to have the support of City of Newcastle around this, and hopefully through their lobbying as well we will see the event remain in the Hunter," he said.
"I think keeping the event in the Hunter would be a fantastic benefit to the region as a whole, we've got a huge amount of motor sport fans here that want to watch a local Supercars event.
"We also have a huge amount of tourism businesses, and the more we can bring people to our region or showcase it on the world stage, the more chance we have of people coming here and spending time and money in our local economies."
Cr Suvaal said work needs to start early in the new year if there was "any chance" of securing a race for 2025.
He said there would need to be a lot of consultation on locations, what would work for Supercars, council, businesses and the community.
"We don't want to have something that will cause problems like it did in Newcastle, we want to make sure this is an event supported by the whole community," he said.
The Newcastle 500 has been scrapped for 2024, after the council refused to sign a one-year deal following a back-and-forth with the state government that saw the city ultimately lose the event to Bathurst.