Still­born tem­po­rary cir­cuits

Australian Muscle Car - - Not So Sacred -

Since the early 1980s count­less street cir­cuit con­cepts have been floated. Many seemed like a good idea at the time, but lacked at least one es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent – or in some cases ev­ery in­gre­di­ent – to bring them to life.

Love them or loathe them, tem­po­rary mo­tor rac­ing cir­cuits have rev­o­lu­tionised mod­ern mo­tor­sport, bring­ing events to the peo­ple. While rac­ing on pub­lic roads dates back to the sports’ ear­li­est days, this ar­ti­cle deals with the mod­ern ‘con­crete-canyon’ vari­ant. This era be­gan in 1985 with Welling­ton’s won­der­ful dock­side, ship­ping con­tainer-dodg­ing Group A en­duro and Ade­laide’s stel­lar F1 ef­forts. But we’re not con­cerned here with the tracks that ac­tu­ally came to life. In­stead, over the fol­low­ing pages, we re­view the many projects that failed to get up.

Over the last three decades, spe­cial­ist mo­tor­sport mag­a­zines and even the na­tion’s met­ro­pol­i­tan news­pa­pers have out­lined umpteen pro­pos­als for tem­po­rary street cir­cuits. Some were pure wish­ful think­ing, while oth­ers were in­ves­ti­gated and re­jected. One or two have seem­ingly been done deals, only to fall over just be­fore the ‘go’ but­ton was pushed.

This is a story out­lin­ing two decades of still­born street races; plans that fell over due to a lack of fund­ing or po­lit­i­cal back­ing. Events that never saw a con­crete bar­rier in­stalled, be­cause of more im­pen­e­tra­ble bar­ri­ers laid by res­i­dents or en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

The trick with any newly pro­posed tem­po­rary cir­cuit is work­ing out whether it falls into the fic­tion or non-fic­tion cat­e­gory. Some of the venues be­low might now seem like pure fan­tasy, but it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing there were many who pooh-poohed the chances of F1 cars blast­ing down De­quet­teville Ter­race or V8 Su­per­cars charg­ing around the Sydney 2000 Olympics site.

For the record, we reckon a Gee­long street race made a great deal of sense. Still does; and may still come to fruition in the fu­ture.

Read on as AMC trav­els down some dead­end streets…

Ho­bart

Not

con­tent to host ocean rac­ing yachts each De­cem­ber, a Ho­bart con­sor­tium also wanted the city’s fa­mous Con­sti­tu­tion Dock precinct as home port for a tour­ing car af­fair. Hence, the idea of an an­nual ‘Con­sti­tu­tion 500’ was floated [ED: pun in­tended] by mar­ket­ing com­pany Sports­force In­ter­na­tional.

The Con­fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tralian Mo­tor Sport gave its seal of ap­proval, sub­ject to com­pen­sa­tion be­ing paid to both per­ma­nent Tas­ma­nian cir­cuits, Sym­mons Plains and Baskerville. The Tas­ma­nia State Gov­ern­ment also liked the idea.

The first Con­sti­tu­tion 500 was touted for De­cem­ber 4, 1988, with a very snazzy logo cre­ated, in­cor­po­rat­ing con­vict-era ar­chi­tec­ture, pos­si­bly the Tas­ma­nian par­lia­ment build­ing. Per­haps a move to get lo­cal pol­lies ex­cited enough to dip into pub­lic cof­fers?

FISA, the world gov­ern­ing body of mo­tor­sport’s name at the time, even sent track in­spec­tor Jan Corsmit to Tassie fol­low­ing the 1987 Ade­laide F1 GP. Corsmit gave his seal of ap­proval for the precinct’s suit­abil­ity as a pos­si­ble host lo­ca­tion for a World Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship round. But, like the Group A-era WTCC, the C500 sunk like the Ti­tanic.

From what we can gather, it was the not in­signif­i­cant mat­ter of who would fund it that was the ul­ti­mate stum­bling block.

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