Council calls for race track

DUNGOG Mayor Harold Johnston is calling for a race track to built in the council’s area, about an hour north of Newcastle in NSW.

He believes it would be a major boost not only for the shire, but motorsport enthusiasts in general. Johnston says the race track could cater for everything from race meetings to commercial testing and weekend hobbyists, bringing an influx of funds into the area He says while the council is yet to secure a site and the millions needed for construction, the idea is gaining momentum.

“There are sites available and as far as financing goes, nope, we don’t have that either,” he said. “But we are slowly getting together a business plan and that will show this is well and truly worth doing. “For Dungog (it’s) worth doing because of the employment opportunities.”

The Mayor estimates the racetrack could bring up to a thousand visitors each week to the town, which is not an unreasonable idea seeing the closure of Oran Park in Sydney has reduced the number of road race tracks in NSW to only two, that being Eastern Creek in Sydney and Wakefield Park in Goulburn. A private firm plans to build a race track in Wagga Wagga and is currently going through the council approval process, so that would make three venues if that gets to go ahead. He estimates it would cost about $7.5 million to build, but would bring in much more.

“It gives the opportunity for other businesses to spring up, for tourism, for the restaurants and all the rest of it, there’s enormous opportunity. “For the benefits to the whole shire $7.5 million is not a big ask. “I mean it’s more than I could afford but it would be an incredible investment for some level of government.”

In Victoria there is the state owned Broadford Motorcycle racing complex which is popular with club racing enthusiasts and caters for road and dirt motorcycle racing. Motorcycling NSW issued a press release in 2012 that it was involved in building a road race track in the Shoalhaven area, south of Sydney but we were unable to get a comment on the current status of that venue as we went to press.

A consortium tried to get a race track, including drag strip, built just north of Newcastle (a different council shire than Dungog), and despite all attempts to appease both some members of the council and a minor number of local residents the idea was aborted. Cycle Torque finds this type of narrow minded approach simply astounding, with the benefits for the local area far outweighing the negatives.
We hope a track in Dungog gets the go ahead, as well as the two tracks slated for the Shoalhaven and Wagga Wagga.

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