Tailem Bend revs up

TAILEM Bend has been announced as South Australia’s future motor sport hub.

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) has nominated Tailem Bend Motorsport Park as the site best suited to major development in a report commissioned by the State Government.

State Sport Minister Leon Bignell was careful to clarify that although the former Mitsubishi test track was now the officially preferred site for a motor sport hub, the Government had not yet committed any funding to the project.

Nonetheless, Coorong council community and corporate director Nat Traeger said the council, which owned the land, was delighted at CAMS’ choice.

“Council is thrilled with the report and the fact (the council) backed itself in the first place to buy the site from Mitsubishi,” she said.

“Our big vision was for it to become an important precinct for motor sport.”

CAMS praised the Tailem Bend proposal as the most comprehensive, well researched and presented.

The motor sport park, it said, had more than enough space within its 647 hectares, was ideally located for interstate competitors, would not produce noise enough to concern the community for many decades, if at all, and was already zoned for motor sport activities.

CAMS also noted that, although Tailem Bend was considered by some people to be a long way from Adelaide, the distance would not deter participants.

“Tailem Bend represents the most viable and, in general, best option for surety of a venue for the sport into the future of all the proposals considered,” it stated.

“The development of the facility will be dependent on external funding, public or private, as the current operators do not have the equity to purchase the land from the Coorong council.”

Mrs Traeger said she was less than delighted at television news reports identifying Peregrine Corporation as the organisation which is purchasing the site.

The council and corporation are still confidentially negotiating the final details of the sale after an expression of interest process.

The council had expected to formally announce Peregrine Corporation’s successful bid this week.

The motor sport park’s current operators, Coorong Property Group, have announced they will no longer host events at the facility after their lease expires on November 30.

A drift meeting scheduled for that day will go ahead.

CAMS reached its decision with input from the Australian National Drag Racing Association, Motorcycling South Australia, the Australian Karting Association, Speedway Australia and the South Australian Motor Sports Board.

The news dealt a blow to hopes for development at Cougar International Raceway at Monarto, as well as to consortiums at Gillman and Virginia.

What CAMS said

Tailem Bend: government assistance with land purchase and construction of a multi-discipline, multi-user facility which is self-sustaining, self-funding and managed by major stakeholders including the sport and the government.

“CAMS considers Tailem Bend represents the most viable and, in general, best option for surety of a venue for the sport into the future of all the proposals considered.

“The development of the facility will be dependent on external funding, public or private, as the current operators do not have the equity to purchase the land from the Coorong council.”

Monarto: government-funded drag strip on private land.

“The restrictions on use and land size make this proposal unviable for the majority of the motor sport community.”

Gillman, proposal one: government-funded motor racing track and drag strip, with ongoing management and operation by a third party.

“This proposal is not viable.”

Gillman, proposal two: privately-funded motor racing track and drag strip.

“This proposal, while exciting and dynamic, and relatively close to the populace, does not represent a viable long-term future for the wider motor sport community.”

Virginia: government assistance with the upgrade of Adelaide International Raceway’s drag and circuit facilities, and addition of driver training, motocross, karting, off-road competition and major non-motor sport events.

“Limited development opportunities, a high degree of private commercial involvement in the ownership, development and control of the venue and long-term surety of motor sport operations being subject to the objectives of the private commercial entity may prevent this proposal offering significant long-term security and benefit to the sport’s participants.

“This may be particularly so at the elite level.”

Mallala: no proposal received.

“Whilst a proposal was not received by the Office for Recreation and Sport on behalf of this venue, CAMS considers that it is important to include in its evaluation of current motor sport venues.

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