The Bend Motorsport Park: construction work begins

Men at work: Workers start transforming an area of hard earth at Elwomple into an international-standard motor racing venue. Photo: Supplied.

Men at work: Workers start transforming an area of hard earth at Elwomple into an international-standard motor racing venue. Photo: Supplied.

Construction work on an international-standard race track has begun at The Bend Motorsport Park.

The park’s owners posted several pictures of preliminary earthworks on social media last week, to great enthusiasm from the more than 2600 people who have since seen them.

Humble though its beginnings may be, within two years the flat, dusty work site is expected to transform into a mecca for motor sport fans and the rival to any track in Australia in terms of the experience on offer for drivers and riders.

Given expectations it will create as many as 1600 permanent full-time jobs, bring 300,000 visitors to the Murraylands each year and add $200 million per annum to the South Australian economy, the wait will be well worth the “years of ideas, think tanks, discussions, meetings, planning and approval requests” described by the park’s owners.

Dreams of a motor sport heaven were gaining traction at the former Mitsubishi test track even before Peregrine Corporation bought the property from the Coorong council, and before the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport announced it as the preferred site for any new race track in South Australia, in late 2013.

Peregrine and its millionaire owner, Sam Shahin, laid out their grand vision in a development application lodged in February 2014.

Alongside a track worthy of certification for every level of motor racing except Formula One, they planned accommodation, a service station, restaurants, an air strip and an industrial park.

Last May Mr Shahin announced he had secured the V8 Supercars licence he had so keenly sought, and that a round of the race series would be held at Tailem Bend in 2017.

The track then passed an inspection by the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme last month, paving the way for discussions about a Moto GP event.

The project has attracted millions of dollars worth of funding from the state and federal governments.

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