V8 legend evicted after border backflip

 

Motorsport legend Jamie Whincup drove one of his team's semi-trailers home after racing in the Bathurst 1000 to cross the Queensland border with a freight pass.

But now he has been evicted from the Sunshine State along with six teammates after authorities told them to enter hotel quarantine or return to New South Wales.

Whincup said yesterday police allowed them to enter Queensland before authorities later backflipped.

"It was a bit of ... the election is coming up, we don't need any drama, so get out of Queensland," he said.

The Courier-Mail understands police are now investigating other Supercars teams who entered the state on freight passes after racing at Bathurst - a COVID-19 hotspot - on October 17 and 18.

Whincup and his team have not been fined, and were able to travel to Peppers Salt Resort and Spa at Kingscliff for two weeks instead of entering hotel quarantine in Queensland.

Craig Lowndes and other members of the Triple Eight racing team had already opted to spend the 14 days at the NSW resort.

 

 

Jamie Whincup in Pit Lane at Mt Panorama. Picture: Tim Hunter
Jamie Whincup in Pit Lane at Mt Panorama. Picture: Tim Hunter

 

A statement released by the Queensland Police Service said an investigation was under way into those returning from Bathurst.

"Task Force Sierra Linnet detectives are currently investigating the alleged return of a number of Queensland residents that had attended the Bathurst 1000 sporting event on the weekend of 17-18 October, 2020," the statement said.

"These matters are subject to ongoing investigation and no further comment can be made until the completion of these investigations."

Triple Eight team owner Roland Dane described the process as "overly officious" and said he had been communicating with Queensland Health for weeks about their return from the Bathurst 1000.

Dane said he wrote to his local MP for advice about the cost and necessity of his team entering hotel quarantine following the race.

 

 

"I got a call from an official at Queensland Health who suggested we apply for an exemption online," he said.

"While at Bathurst we got a note to say we have an exemption, but it was that we could travel by road and not air and we were required to enter hotel quarantine when we returned.

"It didn't seem like an exemption, so we emailed back and said thanks but no thanks."

He said they instead reverted to their original plan, which they believed allowed four drivers and three co-drivers to return to Queensland with freight passes.

"We had seven people who came back across the border on F passes - as everyone is doing every day with commercial freight.

"One of those was Jamie Whincup, who is a heavy goods vehicle driver, has been for many years, and is a part-owner of the business.

Triple Eight Red Bull Holden Racing Team owner Roland Dane. Pic Mark Cranitch.
Triple Eight Red Bull Holden Racing Team owner Roland Dane. Pic Mark Cranitch.

"He was kind enough to volunteer to drive a truck back and forth because we were taking one more truck than we normally would."

He said detectives came to the warehouse on Friday morning to ask about the team's freight passes, initially telling them they thought everything was OK.

But detectives returned on Friday evening and said Whincup and his teammates had to leave or enter hotel quarantine.

"The fact is, the trucks came back legitimately on F passes driven by heavy vehicle drivers of which Jamie is one, in the way in which trucks are coming through every minute of every hour," Dane said.

"All we've done is comply with the regulations. I don't understand why we have been picked out in this when there are plenty of other trucks that have gone to Bathurst and come back to Queensland."

Whincup said he and his teammates had followed the rules and that authorities appeared to have changed their minds.

Triple Eight / Red Bull Holden Racing freight vehicle driven team members on their return to Queensland. Picture: Supplied
Triple Eight / Red Bull Holden Racing freight vehicle driven team members on their return to Queensland. Picture: Supplied

"We are 100 per cent confident that we've done everything properly and truthfully," he said.

He said police had initially given them the "green light" but returned to the Triple Eight factory on Friday night with new instructions.

"Three hours later, (they said) oh no, guys, that's not how we meant it (and) basically get out of Queensland.

"I didn't have any contact (with police) at all, I just got sent an email saying, hey, you have got to go to NSW and quarantine.

"So I packed my bags and off I went.

"I guess the whole point is, they set the rules, we read the rules, we did everything lawfully and then they went, oh hang on, that's not what we meant."

Whincup said he believed the discovery of COVID-19 traces in Bathurst sewage following their return had put Queensland authorities on edge.

It is understood police approached the team after receiving information from Queensland Health.

Queensland Health did not answer questions when contacted yesterday by The Courier-Mail.

 

 

Originally published as V8 legend evicted after border backflip


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