This weekend’s Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint is the first Supercars event at Symmons Plains since 2019 — and it didn’t take long for the drama to start to unfold.
During practice 1 on Saturday, Tim Slade was forced to park up as his right rear wheel became dislodged, causing a red flag.
Later in qualifying, Shane van Gisbergen stunned the field with a track record 50.492 second lap to claim pole position.
“That could be the most emphatic statement he’s made all year, and he’s won five races in a row,” Mark Skaife said in commentary on Fox Sports.
“Three tenths of a second. That’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen that.”
His time was a whopping 0.3325 seconds clear of second-placed Cameron Waters, who was only one-tenth quicker than Mark Winterbottom down in eighth.
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RACE CENTRE: Tasmania SuperSprint
Cameron Waters was again the fast man in second practice, with the top 10 covered by just 0.2s.
Like he did earlier in the morning, Waters fired to the top at the death, with the #6 Monster Energy Mustang again the class of the field.
As it was in Practice 1, Waters was shadowed by a Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustang, with Anton De Pasquale just 0.0208s adrift.
Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen was 0.0561s behind in third in his #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing entry, with Tickford Racing’s Jack Le Brocq again impressing to fourth.
Positions one through nine were covered by just 0.17s, with early pace-setter Chaz Mostert fifth ahead of Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye.
Cars will be back on track for Race 6 starts this afternoon at 4.25pm.
SATURDAY SCHEDULE (all times AEST)
Practice 2: 11.25am — 11.55am
Qualifying: 1.25pm — 2.10pm
Race 6: 4.25pm — 5.25pm
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At the front of the grid, one driver has been doing all the winning, but that doesn’t mean the margins behind are too large to overcome.
A return to Tasmania for the first time in two years, and the first race meeting in four weeks, means there’s every chance teams have tweaked their cars, and drivers have sharpened.
Ahead of this weekend’s event, which will feature three 44-lap races, Supercars.com has listed nine key storylines which will play out across the weekend.
SVG’S SHOT AT HISTORY
Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen could make history as the only driver in Supercars history to win the first seven races of a season.
Van Gisbergen has won five in a row to start 2021, and should he win the first two races of the weekend, he would surpass two major names.
Allan Moffat and Mark Skaife both won the opening six races of the season in 1977 and 1994 respectively; no one has ever won the opening seven.
Van Gisbergen’s current win streak of six, which dates back to the 2020 Bathurst 1000, matches similar feats by Moffat, Dick Johnson, Jim Richards, Skaife, Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin.
Only Whincup and Lowndes have been able to win more than six consecutive races; Whincup (seven in 2008) and Lowndes (eight in 1996).
Mercedes top times, Ricciardo 18th
CAN ANYONE STOP TRIPLE EIGHT IN TASSIE?
Jamie Whincup is the most successful driver in history at Symmons Plains with 12 race wins to his name, the most recent of which came in 2018.
Red Bull Ampol Racing has been the dominant force at Symmons Plains for much of the past decade; the team has won 11 of the 14 races held at the circuit since 2014.
Van Gisbergen won the most recent race at the circuit on the Sunday in 2019.
FORD’S WIN DROUGHT
Ford drivers have not won a race since Cameron Waters won the penultimate race of the 2020 season at The Bend on September 27.
Saturday’s opening race in Tasmania will mark 202 days, or six months and 21 days, since a Ford driver last won a race.
WHINCUP MOVES UP IN THE RECORD BOOKS
This weekend also marks Whincup’s 243rd round start, bringing him level for sixth on the all-time list with Todd Kelly.
Whincup’s enduro co-driver Lowndes holds the record for most round starts at 298.
McLaughlin on upcoming IndyCars Series
NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT
This weekend will also see the debut of the new split, three-part qualifying system. The format will first be used on Saturday.
The first part of qualifying will see the field split in two groups on alternating garage order. That means one car per two-car team will take part in each five-minute session.
The top eight from each session will continue, while the bottom four from each session will be locked in positions 17 through 24.
The remaining 16 cars will roll out for the 10-minute Q2 segment, with the quickest 10 fighting for pole in the 10-minute Q3 segment.
On Sunday, there will be a split, single-segment format for both races; the same groupings will be used for two eight-minute sessions to set the grid.
— This originally appeared in Supercars.com and was republished with consent
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Round one: defeated Richmond 5.11 (41) to 1.6 (12)
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Sheffield Shield final, Queensland vs New South Wales, day three at Allan Border Field —
New South Wales have but one option against Queensland on day three of the Sheffield Shield final: attack.
Already heavily trailing, the Blues have a mountain to climb if they want to get back in the match against the Bulls, who are 4-317 after 129 overs.
The visitors had no answer to Marnus Labuschagne on Friday, as the Test first-drop moved from 23 to finish the day unbeaten on 160. Along the way he peeled off the sixth highest Shield final score.
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Speaking to Darren Lehmann on Fox Cricket before day three, he explained why he leaves the ball in an extravagant fashion, similar to Steve Smith.
“For me, it’s about getting in the contest,” he said. “For me, leaving the ball extravagantly, or sort of over-exaggerating, is just showing energy…
“Because a leave can be quite a mundane shot but to bring energy and, also, maybe it does put pressure on the bowlers just because a bit more intensity with the leave creates a bit more atmosphere when you bat.”
MATCH CENTRE: Queensland vs New South Wales, live scoreboard
DAY TWO REPORT: Lyon’s umpire sledge reveals Blues pain as ‘special’ Labuschagne puts QLD in control
MARNUS MAGIC: Cricket greats swoon as Labuschagne smokes ‘one of the best centuries seen’
NSW took a wicket early on day one when Matthew Renshaw (34) chopped a cover drive on to his stumps off the bowling of Trent Copeland.
Marnus talks ‘finding his grip’
Queensland XI: Bryce Street, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja (c), Matthew Renshaw, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Jack Wildermuth, Michael Neser, Xavier Bartlett, Mitch Swepson, Brendan Doggett
NSW XI: Daniel Hughes, Matthew Gilkes, Kurtis Patterson (c), Jason Sangha, Jack Edwards, Sean Abbott, Baxter Holt (wk), Mitchell Starc, Trent Copeland, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
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“I think I’m going to have to swap ends”
Meanwhile, former Australian coach Lehmann said the Blues couldn’t retreat into their shells and had to come out firing on day three.
“They’ve got to get wickets: simple,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“They’ve got to get quick wickets on Saturday first-up.
“They’ve got to bowl Queensland out before lunch and then bat for five sessions. That’s the only way they’ll be in with a chance.
“They’re almost 150 behind at stumps, if they were to bowl Queensland out before lunch they’d be at least 200 behind and then you’d have to bat five sessions and bowl them out on the last day.”
Lehmann’s hilarious Evel Knievel injury
Meanwhile, former Australia star Andrew Symonds urged NSW bowlers to ‘start a fight’ with their rivals.
Symonds said on Fox Cricket: “They just haven’t created enough chances for themselves…
“At the end of a final particularly, have you exhausted every single avenue to try and make things happen? Yes they’re tired, it’s been a long season.
“But I’m thinking start a fight with someone, try and get under someone’s skin. See if you can get a reaction there and a bad shot out of someone.
“The NSW attack, they’ve got to just keep trying. What we’d like to see them do is try some different things now. They’ve tried what they obviously planned, stuck to it and stuck to it. But I think now they need to make a move in a different direction.”
Marnus stars in big day for Queensland
Screamer alert! Marnus ends NSW in style
‘Next one will be on the badge!’
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The Eagles and Magpies are desperate for a win as they face off in Friday night football.
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West Coast and Collingwood have played some of the most memorable games of the past few seasons, and are both desperate to bounce back after disappointing losses. Follow our live AFL ScoreCentre for all the scores, stats and results.
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The Australian livestock export industry has distanced itself from the New Zealand trade, which has been banned from exporting livestock by sea.
The Australian Government says it has no plans to ban livestock exports and New Zealand’s move is expected to help Australian farmers win lucrative trade deals with China, which had been spending big on dairy breeding heifers.
Chief executive of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council Mark Harvey-Sutton said the Council was sympathetic to its Kiwi colleagues and disappointed by the ban.
“We have full confidence in the standards the Australian industry upholds and expect the impacts of the New Zealand decision to have limited bearing on the strength of the Australian industry and its continuing growth,” he said.
New Zealand’s Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced the decision this morning, to phase out live exports of animals by sea.
The decision followed an inquiry into the sinking of a ship carrying 43 crew and thousands of New Zealand cattle off the coast of Japan last year.
According to the Federated Farmers of New Zealand, the live export trade was worth $200 million to Kiwi farmers last year, with 110,000 animals exported live.
The lobby group said it saw no reason for the ban.
“We’re a little bit surprised really that it’s come out now, and that they’ve decided to go down this route,” NZFF spokesman Wayne Langford told the ABC.
New Zealand had already stopped the export of livestock for slaughter in 2008, but the export of breeding cattle had been increasing, with strong demand from China.
Dairy industry analyst Emma Higgins said the decision to ban exports from New Zealand left Australian dairy producers “in the box seat” to take up the trade of dairy heifers into Asia.
“The good news for Australian exporters and dairy producers is that there’s an opportunity there for Australian farmers to fill the gap that New Zealand will leave,” Ms Higgins said.
In a statement, Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said “this is a matter for the New Zealand Government and Australia has no plans to suspend or ban live animal exports”.
“The Federal Government is confident in our standards, regulations and laws to ensure high standards of animal welfare for livestock exports,” the statement read.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals used the NZ announcement to renew calls for an end to the Australian live export trade.
“New Zealand has made the right decision, and with it, is cementing its international reputation as a world leader in high quality, ethical agricultural products while Australia is left behind yet again,” RSPCA spokesman Jed Goodfellow said.
Dr Goodfellow said Australia exported more than 170,000 breeding cattle last year, primarily to China and Pakistan.
“And there are no laws to protect them once they are there,” he said.
The Opposition’s agriculture spokeswoman Julie Collins was approached for comment.
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Richmond have snapped a two-game losing streak in style and left a wasteful St Kilda in their wake with a brilliant 86-point win at Docklands Stadium.
St Kilda led at quarter-time and dominated the second term but failed to make their early weight of possession count, with Richmond nudging their way to a four-goal lead at halftime and ruthlessly kicking on to batter the Saints 20.14 (134) to 7.6 (48).
Silky Tigers midfielder Shane Edwards (29 touches) and Jack Graham (17 disposals, 12 tackles and three goals) were ever-present and Dustin Martin (34 touches) worked through a slow start to assert himself on the match, while Jack Riewoldt kicked five goals.
St Kilda skipper Jack Steele (22 touches, 10 tackles) was typically tough at stoppages while Hunter Clark’s cleanliness by foot stood out in his 33 touches.
St Kilda’s Rowan Marshall (foot) and Zak Jones (soreness), both under injury clouds earlier in the week, were left out for Paul Hunter and Luke Dunstan.
But their teammates responded to coach Brett Ratten’s calls for a fast start, taking a one-point lead at the first break in front of 32,056 fans.
In a second quarter as error-strewn as it was exhilarating, St Kilda dominated much of the play but didn’t make it count.
The efficient Tigers wouldn’t make the same mistake, gradually creeping away, before opening up a 25-point lead when Lynch finished off a counter-attack with seconds left in the half.
St Kilda also had to activate medical substitute Ben Long at halftime for Jimmy Webster (groin).
In the third term, the Tigers crunched St Kilda around the stoppages and punished them on the scoreboard, kicking seven goals to two to set the tone for a thrashing.
It started when Edwards goaled with a clever roving snap before Martin got on the end of a turnover, danced around a defender and sent the Tigers 38-points ahead with a booming goal.
From there, Richmond simply turned up the heat and the Saints crumbled with the reigning premiers powering out to a 10-goal lead at the final change.
They rubbed further salt in the Saints’ wounds with a five-goal last quarter.
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Living 20 minutes out of Shepparton in northern Victoria, Lisa Powell and her family have struggled for years to get the good internet they need for work and study.
They’ve tried many options, including other satellite internet services like NBN Co’s Sky Muster, and are now spending more than they’d like on mobile data.
“We spend upwards of $300 a month on internet and the speeds are pretty bad,” Ms Powell said.
Last Friday, Elon Musk’s company Starlink announced that after months of anticipation, a trial version of its internet service was live in Australia, starting with northern Victoria and southern New South Wales.
On Wednesday, Ms Powell received the $700 rooftop satellite dish she had ordered from Starlink earlier in the year.
In Facebook groups and chat forums, the Starlink news has been generally met with excitement and relief, although some are wary of the bold claims made on behalf of satellite internet and are urging caution.
Starlink promises to give people living in the bush what they’ve wanted for a long time; internet that’s just as fast as that in the city.
But can it follow through on this promise?
And will it break down the rural-city digital divide and offer faster speeds for all Australians?
Starlink’s public beta test, known as “Better Than Nothing Beta,” launched in October 2020 in the northern US and southern Canada, where users reported average download speeds of about 100 megabits per second (Mbps).
That’s roughly equivalent to the speed of a very good NBN plan, or about twice a typical 4G mobile internet service.
And for people in rural areas without 4G reception or broadband cables, it’s faster than anything else on offer.
Sky Muster, the most popular satellite internet service in Australia, has a top download speed of 50Mbps, with users of its premium ‘plus’ service reporting average speeds of about 40Mbps.
Aside from speed (also known as bandwidth), there’s also the issue of latency, which is the lag between the moment a data packet is sent and the moment it’s received and processed.
If you’ve been on a video call where people talk over the top of each other because of the delay in hearing what the other person is saying, that’s latency.
Starlink says users can expect latency of 20 milliseconds (ms) to 40ms in most locations, and this will drop to less than 16ms to 19ms in mid to late 2021.
That’s more lag than most Australian broadband plans (about 10ms), but significantly less than what Sky Muster users typically report (about 600ms).
In February, Starlink announced that Australians could pre-order the satellite dishes for the beta service, which would be available later in the year.
On Monday this week, James de Salis in Canberra received his Starlink set-up box in a courier package.
Within minutes, he said he had set up the dish in his backyard, plugged it in and watched it automatically orient itself to find a satellite overhead.
“I connected to its Wi-Fi network on the phone and had blazingly fast internet,” he said.
That morning, he clocked a download speed of 344Mbps.
Over the following 24 hours, it stayed around 150Mbps to 250Mbps with about 20 minutes of outages, when the view of the satellites was obstructed or there were no satellites overhead at all.
Speeds in Australia will probably drop as more users are added to the network, though the effect of this extra traffic will be partly counteracted by the company adding more satellites and ground stations.
As in the US, Starlink has told customers in Australia they should expect downloads of 50Mbs to 150Mbs, though it’s also hinted this speed will go up.
In February, Elon Musk tweeted that the speed will double to 300Mbs “later in the year”.
Mr Musk talks a big game, but his global space internet business remains a “highly risky exercise,” said Paul Budde, an independent telecommunications analyst.
“The main caveat is can they deliver, and can they deliver in an affordable way?” he said.
Satellite internet technology has been around for decades: a rooftop dish beams data via radio signals to a satellite, which bounces them down to a ground station. This sends the data wherever it needs to go and can relay a response via the same network.
Starlink’s approach is different from previous satellite internet in two ways: the satellites are closer to Earth, and there’s more of them.
A geostationary satellite like Sky Muster is about 36,000 kilometres above the surface of the Earth, whereas the low Earth orbit satellites used by Starlink are only about 550km up.
The shortened distance can drastically improve the internet speeds while also reducing latency, but it introduces a problem: coverage. Because the satellites are so low, they only cover a small area of the Earth.
The solution: a network of thousands of low Earth orbit satellites.
Since 2019, Mr Musk’s SpaceX has launched more than 1,200 Starlink satellites, which is a lot; but only a fraction of the tens of thousands it plans to send into orbit.
“It will take years to get the whole system ready and the lifetime of their satellites is five years,” Mr Budde said.
“What a massive exercise that will be, the continuous shuttling of satellites up in the air.”
But if SpaceX can build its network on schedule and make its service more affordable (the cost of the dish is a barrier to many), it will transform the market for the provision of internet services in Australia, Mr Budde said.
“If that is done, you’ll have an enormously [more]competitive system to what we have in Australia,” he said.
Kristy Sparrow, a co-founder of Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR), urged caution and consideration, rather than rushing online to order a Starlink satellite dish.
She said there were still unanswered questions around the service, including whether the company will eventually impose data limits, and whether the rooftop satellite dishes will be able to handle the Australian heat.
When she and others met with Starlink representatives from the US earlier this year, they were unsure whether the dish would work in 40 degrees Celsius or 50C heat, she said.
Starlink also has no phone number to call for technical assistance, only an online portal — not much help if your internet isn’t working.
“Over the years we’ve found the number one thing people want is reliability, and to be able to pick up a phone and speak to the provider,” Ms Sparrow said.
“If they’re not offering phone support, I think they’ve missed the market a bit.”
Starlink is currently only available to Australians in northern Victoria and southern NSW (below 32 degrees latitude), though it says the “service will expand across the country in coming months”.
Under the terms of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) five-year licence granted to Starlink in January 2021, the company can only provide internet service to “low and remote density areas”.
This is all of Australia except Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
By a rough calculation, that still leaves 10 million people, including Canberra, Hobart and big regional centres such as Newcastle and Townsville.
If Starlink gets a licence to provide its internet services to the big cities, it could pick up millions of customers in the suburbs, Mr Budde said.
Leafy, spread-out suburbs like Hornsby or Dural in Sydney would be perfect candidates for Starlink, Mr Budde said.
“If everything goes well, then for many people in urban areas, the satellites will be a far better option than the current NBN,” Mr Budde said.
“A quarter of NBN users report having a poor, or unreliable, or unsatisfactory connection.
“A quarter of the population could easily be persuaded to go to a satellite internet provider.”
Rob Zarka’s house outside of Gembrook, about 70km from the centre of Melbourne, sits smack-bang in the middle of the line demarcating the area to which Starlink can legally provide its internet service.
It’s a tricky situation: he may be too close to Melbourne to get Starlink, but at the same time he’s too far from Gembrook to connect to the NBN via a fixed line.
He was once told it would cost over $10,000 to connect his house to the network.
His family of four currently relies on both Sky Muster and ADSL, which costs a lot but still only allows one person in the house to stream video at a time.
“I need internet all day, whether it’s phone calls over the internet or video calls or using the online system,” said Mr Czarka, who works as a project manager.
“Particularly through lockdown we had a terrible experience.”
Mr Czarka has pre-ordered the Starlink satellite dish in the hope that he’ll be allowed to use the service.
In Canberra, Mr De Salis lives on a suburban street that does not yet have the NBN.
His house is connected to the local exchange 3km away by copper wiring.
That still delivers broadband of 20-30Mbps, but it’s nothing compared to the speeds he’s been clocking on Starlink.
An NBN spokesperson said they expect the NBN’s role to “only grow in importance” as Australians become increasingly reliant on access to the internet.
“Emerging commercial satellite broadband networks may have the potential to provide some consumers with additional choices; however, NBNhas an important obligation to help ensure all Australians have access to fast broadband, at affordable prices, and at least cost to taxpayers.”
Sky Muster, which has over 100,000 customers, relies on satellites that will have to be either replaced or refuelled in nine years’ time.
The spokesperson said NBN may consider “partnership opportunities with other network providers” in the future.
If you were up very early on Tuesday morning and living on the east cost of Australia, you may have seen a procession of lights across the sky.
These were recently launched Starlink satellites moving into their assigned orbits.
Once in place, they won’t be visible to the naked eye, but will still show up as streaks or trails of light in the long-exposure images taken by astronomers.
The proliferation of low Earth orbit satellites has been of concern to the astronomical community for years, said Monash University astronomer Michael Brown.
“There’s been some improvements over the past two years or so, since the first Starlink satellites were launched,” he said.
SpaceX has taken notice of these concerns and designed satellite casings that reflect less sunlight to make them less visible to astronomers, but the company hasn’t slowed its launch schedule.
Aside from this light pollution, there’s also radio interference, Dr Brown said.
Starlink’s ACMA licence states that its ground station transmitters “must not be operated within 70km” of the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory — the area that will be home to the planned Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.
Starlink satellites beam internet data in the 11-12GHz range, which can also be used for radio astronomy.
“It’s good to see that condition in there, but Starlink will still have an impact,” Dr Brown said.
“If you have hundreds or thousands of satellites using that frequency range, it’s going to be a lot less usable.”
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New Zealand will continue to allow live exports of animals by air, which has lesser welfare concerns, a practice used for the sale of horses.
Citing reputational risk from poor animal welfare practice, New Zealand is banning live exports of animals by sea.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor on Wednesday announced the controversial practice would end within the next two years.
“There’s a lot of public pressure here, a lot of concern,” Mr O’Connor said.
“We must stay ahead of the curve in a world where animal welfare is under increasing scrutiny.”
The practice was paused in September 2020 after the Gulf Livestock 1 ship sank on a journey to China, drowning 41 crew – including two Kiwis and two Australians – and almost 6000 cattle.
This is world leading! Thousands of animals will no longer suffer. We’re pleased to see that our Government has listened to the tens of thousands of Kiwis who have spoken out about this issue. Thank the government for taking animal welfare seriously at https://t.co/SupWQ97Gs0pic.twitter.com/Vsz48zjO46
Animal welfare advocates have congratulated the government, while export bodies have slammed the call.
World Animal Protection NZ executive director Simone Clarke called on Australia to follow suit.
“The New Zealand government’s announcement to phase out live exports in the coming years is a significant moment in our history for animals, one which other governments around the world must now follow, including Australia,” she said.
Mr O’Connor refused to join them, saying live export policy was a matter for individual countries.
Sheep destined for the Middle East make their way to be loaded onboard the Al Messilah livestock vessel at the Fremantle wharf in February 2019.
The West Coast-Tasman MP said many farmers supported the ban, while acknowledging others would lose out.
The Animal Genetics Trade Association called the ban an “ill-informed, massively consequential decision for the nation, to earn short-term political brownie points from a few activists”.
“This is an immoral ban against a trade being conducted humanely. There is no morality in removing half a billion dollars from our economy and forcing the early deaths of up to 150,000 animals a year,” AGTA spokesman Dave Hayman said.
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