MARK Larkham will feature in the television broadcasts of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship after all.
In a spectacular backflip, Supercars has reacted to widespread fan backlash over the axing of Larkham announced late last year.
A post on the category’s official website has confirmed the move to re-instate the former driver and team owner to the coverage.
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He had been removed as part of a push to reduce the amount of technical content in the broadcasts, which Supercars management fears alienates new viewers.
Larkham’s efforts to breakdown and explain technical topics in relatable terms had been the key element of his huge popularity among fans.
In a statement Supercars CEO Sean Seamer admitted the axing of Larkham was a mistake.
“We do listen, and it is clear how much the fans love Larko,” Seamer said.
“It was a mistake for us to part ways, but the outpouring of support from our fans proved we couldn’t carry on without him.
“It gives us great pride in knowing how strongly our fans care about Larko, and how much they care about Supercars.”
Larkham has largely stayed silent since the news he was being let go but has been humbled by the reaction from fans.
“Like Supercars, I could not in good conscience ignore the will of the fans whose very participation has kept me in the business for most of my life; but at the end of the day, this is not about me, this is about the fans,” he said.
“The fans that love our sport, watch our telecasts, buy tickets and team merchandise; and keep the whole show alive. They spoke, Supercars listened and responded; kinda cool.
“So in a really good way, over Christmas you did put an enormous weight, not burden, on my shoulders, and Supercars gave me lots of time to consider my position, and I thank them for that.
“Add to that my deep love of our sport and the fact that Supercars, and Sean in particular, allowed me to agree a very clear pathway back in, where most importantly I can continue to do what I do, including bumble, fall, drop things and make mistakes.”
The Larkham saga has come amid a new broadcast deal starting in 2021 that includes the free-to-air component switching from Ten to Seven.
Supercars is yet to confirm its full on-air line-up, although Larkham’s fellow pit reporter Riana Crehan confirmed last year she won’t be returning.