Sa­cred Sites

2000-2016

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents - Sto­ries: Luke West Im­ages: Chevron ar­chive

The Su­per­cars street cir­cuits that didn’t stand the test of time.

Love ’em or hate ’em, street cir­cuits have rev­o­lu­tionised modern mo­tor rac­ing. Bring­ing rac­ing to the peo­ple, rather than vice versa, tem­po­rary venues have changed the land­scape more than any other de­vel­op­ment in the sport’s his­tory here in Aus­tralia.

Purists sug­gest that the gov­ern­ment fund­ing that brings them to life should be redi­rected into per­ma­nent cir­cuits. Nice idea, but politi­cians move in mys­te­ri­ous way. They are mo­ti­vated by prom­ises of nan­cial re­turns or in the very least eco­nomic stim­u­la­tion. And blinded by the lure of glam­our and ac­tion in a spec­tac­u­lar set­ting.

The rac­ing game changed in Oc­to­ber 1985 when For­mula 1 rolled into town for our coun­try’s rst World Cham­pi­onship Grand Prix on our rst modern-era tem­po­rary track. The scenic and ac­tion-in­duc­ing Ade­laide Park­lands cir­cuit has since spawned many im­i­ta­tors.

To­day, the Su­per­cars cir­cus in­cludes races on ‘pop-up’ sites in the South Aus­tralian cap­i­tal, Townville, Gold Coast and, most re­cently, New­cas­tle. Th­ese cur­rent events can all be judged as be­ing suc­cess­ful, re­gard­less of how long they sur­vive into the fu­ture.

There have, though, been ca­su­al­ties along the way. Not all at­tempts have gath­ered the magic in­gre­di­ents nec­es­sary to cre­ate well pa­tro­n­ised ‘rac­ing fes­ti­vals’. Gov­ern­ments may pro­vide the start-up cap­i­tal, but its sus­tained in­come from track­side spec­ta­tors and cor­po­rates – in ad­di­tion to en­ter­tain­ing rac­ing for TV au­di­ences – that pro­vides longevity. Year one is cru­cial.

Three not-so sa­cred sites that failed to crack the code were Can­berra, Hamil­ton and Home­bush. The trio all fell by the way­side and pro­vide in­ter­est­ing case stud­ies to­day for pub­lic of­fi­cials, sports mar­ket­ing guru and rac­ing fans alike.

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