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Rivals furious over Burgess Team 18 move

ADRIAN Burgess’ impending move from Supercars’ Head of Motorsport to Team 18 is a “crazy situation” that should not be allowed, say rival team bosses.

Team 18 announced this morning that the Englishman will lead its squad in 2024, fresh from five years in the category’s top motorsport job, where he’s had access to data from all teams.

The fact the Head of Motorsport does not appear to have a non-compete clause in his Supercars deal and can move straight into a team has been met with shock and dismay.

Rivals have been up in arms since whispers of the deal emerged last week.

Burgess has subsequently been replaced as HoM for this weekend’s Adelaide finale, and is now not expected to attend next month’s wind tunnel testing in the United States.

From left: Barry Ryan, Tim Edwards and Mark Dutton. Pic: Ross Gibb

Asked for his thoughts on Burgess being allowed to head straight to Team 18, Triple Eight boss Mark Dutton said: “No, he shouldn’t be. It’s really, really that simple.

“You’re meant to have a non-compete at this level. Not having a non-compete for someone in that position with that much exposure is a mistake.”

Non-compete clauses are commonplace among teams; Burgess’ six-month ‘gardening leave’ amid a high-profile defection from Triple Eight to Walkinshaw Racing in 2013 a case-in-point.

Burgess’ role at Supercars is seen as even more sensitive, given he has access to data and information from all cars in the field.

Barry Ryan, boss of 2023 pacesetters Erebus Motorsport, doubled-down on Dutton’s position.

“I echo Mark’s thoughts. It’s a crazy situation that someone can have all that knowledge and not have some sort of restriction on them,” he said.

“Every other sport in the world, there’s no way it’d be allowed to happen. It’s something Supercars has to look at and fix, I think. That’s just my opinion.”

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Asked if anything can still be done about the immediacy of Burgess’ move now, Dutton added: “I don’t know the ins and outs of the contracts he’s signed, etc, but it’s something a category of Supercars’ level, you have to pay that up front.

“Nobody likes paying gardening leave because it seems like it’s dead money, but that’s an investment you have to do in those roles, I believe, when you hire the person.

“You’ve got to be prepared that that’s an expense on the way out, to protect the other teams and keep the integrity of the sport at the level it should be.

“Whether something should be done about it now is not for me to say, that’s more of a legal matter.”

Sitting alongside Dutton and Ryan in the Thursday press conference in Adelaide, Tickford boss Tim Edwards also weighed into the situation.

Edwards is poised to take over from Burgess at Supercars following a 19-year stint at Tickford Racing that concludes this weekend.

“It’s an interesting one,” he said. “It’s not happened before, someone from Supercars crossing the divide with so much information and it’s probably more relevant now than it’s ever been.

“In the past, even if you knew the pick-up points of all the different cars, everyone’s uprights are designed differently, everyone had different engines, there were a lot more differences with the car.

“Whereas now, when we’ve all got exactly the same pick-up points, etc, the same dampers, all those things, it does become more of an issue than it’s ever been in the past because of the similarity of the cars.

“He signed an employment contract many, many years ago, way before Gen3.”

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