Historic first for iconic Supercars round

The Merlin Darwin Triple Crown is an iconic round of the Repco Supercars Championship, and this year the event is going up a gear by becoming the first official Indigenous Round of the Championship.

The event will feature a number of special elements to celebrate Australia’s First Nations people, and pay respect to the Larrakia people on whose land the event takes place. One of the most visible will be the Supercars liveries, which will feature indigenous artwork.

The first one, the BRT team livery, was unveiled today. Designed by Djerait/Larrakia/Kungarakan artist Melissa Tipo/Yaram, the painting shows the saltwater crocodile, which represents strength, power and masculinity, balanced out by water lilies, which represent fertility, plus dots that represent the generations that have come before us.

BRT Co-Principal Tim Blanchard said the Indigenous Round was an exciting development.

“It’s fantastic that in 2022 as a sport we are celebrating the Indigenous Round for the first time, and immersing ourselves with the local history, people and culture,” he said. “Melissa has done a brilliant job in drawing together so many aspects that are important to the team and, combined, tell a great story. We hope the car goes as well as it looks!”

Several Australian Superbike teams have also incorporated Aboriginal artwork into their motorcycle decals or rider suits and helmets, promising a visual spectacle on-track.

Delivered by Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) on behalf of the Northern Territory Government, the 2022 Merlin Darwin Triple Crown will feature two Welcome to Country ceremonies, one at the Night Transporter Convoy on Wednesday, 15 June, and one on the grid on Sunday, 19 June. The driver/rider signing at Darwin Waterfront on Thursday, 16 June, will feature a Saltwater Ceremony by Larrakia Elder Dr Richard Fejo.

NTMEC CEO Tim Watsford said there will be several other special elements too.

“The prestigious Darwin Triple Crown trophy has been recreated as a traditional shield by Larrakia artist Trent Lee, who designed the official Indigenous Round artwork, and the rest of the trophies will be didgeridoos especially handcrafted by local artists,” he said. “The Australian Superbike trophies feature Trent’s artwork, and Trent has also designed the volunteer and officials shirts.”

Supercars CEO Shane Howard said the teams were excited to be involved.

“Supercars and the NT Government, through Northern Territory Major Events Company, have a fantastic relationship and we are thrilled to be able to implement Supercars’ first Indigenous Round in 2022,” he said. “The teams have embraced this great initiative and we can’t wait to see the first-ever grid filled with indigenous-themed liveries when we race at Hidden Valley in June.”

Looking to the future of the sport, three team members from Racing Together, a program that identifies future indigenous drivers, race team members or officials, will attend the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown. The driver will race in the Combined Sedans category.

As a lasting legacy of the first Indigenous Round, a 70m-long artwork designed by Trent Lee and Jason Lee is being painted on the Gravel Trap wall at Hidden Valley Raceway. It will feature the crocodile, a main totem for Larrakia people, which symbolises strength, patience and endurance, and a barramundi, an important Top End food source.

To secure your spot at this history-making event, visit www.darwinsupercars.com.au.