Roll up, roll up, the Supercar circus has hit town – and if estimates are correct, 180,000 people will have done so by the time the exhaust settles.
Burning rubber, money and effigies as the East End is annexed, all in the name of the mighty V8.
Few events have caused such disruption to the top of town – Colonial settlement perhaps, the ‘89 earthquake, Pasha Bulka – but love or loathe, it’s got the motors running.
Novacastrians are voting with their feet, their wallets and in some cases their weed killer, giving voice to opinions almost certain to be drowned out by the roar of power.
Something the powers that be have probably banked on since getting the green light.
As the Newcastle Song suggests, Supercar organisers didn’t let a chance go by when a commercial-in-confidence commitment to what seemed the unlikeliest of races in the unlikeliest of places was offered up all those months ago.
Who’s paying how much for what remains clouded by a sense of bread and circuses.
But you can’t deny it’s been daring, and in the tradition of logistical high wire acts, there will be gasps as the throng descend on the hastily completed public/private infrastructure. They’ll call it progress and let’s hope that’s evident as the fans evacuate after Chisel tonight.
There’ll be a few nervous looks in the rear-view mirror too, once the tyres stop squealing.
Will the town embrace the event? The event has certainly embraced the town.
Look at the track. The technical challenges are huge – and that’s just from a driver’s point of view. Tearing up parks, roads, trees and social fabric, as critics assert, has proceeded at a pace previously unseen in Local Government folk lore.
Some folk reckon the law’s been unseen too, likening the imposition of the race to an invasion force without tanks.
A few shots have been fired, mainly by trackside residents asking about their rights and whether they have any, and if so, when.
Not many over the race weekend seems to be the consensus among those who’ve bought tickets. They haven’t lost sleep, custom or amenity in the lead-up and don’t have to wear an armband to go get a carton of milk on Sunday.
But of course in politics things are never black and white, and as someone takes the chequered flag, lessons will be learned.
The first possibly being the futility of trying to make sense of it all. The second to buy grandstand tickets next year if the preliminary view is anything to go by.
Fan or otherwise, you will be able to hear the action though – all the way out to Wallsend.
Whether noise constitutes a spectacle sounds about as contradictory as plonking a three-day motorfest in a heritage-listed residential area.
Three things remain clear: the keys are in the ignition, the championship is on the line and the circus began long before this particular one rolled into town.
So roll up, put up and/or shut up, the race to justify it all has only just begun.