A return to motorcycle racing at Bathurst has moved a step closer with the NSW Government pledging $15m for a second Mt Panorama circuit.
The new “Velocity Park precinct” would be suitable for MotoGP and World Superbike racing.
The State Government’s funding is made up of $10 million in the 2017-18 Budget and $5 million already allocated by the NSW Office of Sport.
This is on top of $10m Bathurst Regional Council has set aside for the circuit, but still about $28m short of what is needed for a world-class facility.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole says there have been several consortiums who have indicated interest in designing the new circuit.
He says it would be able to accommodate “both four- and two-wheeled international-level motorsports”.
The 668-hectare Velocity Park will have capacity for up to 50,000 race goers and stand to the east of Conrod Straight on the Mt Panorama Circuit.
It will also feature accommodation and hospitality facilities.
The proposal has been around for a few years now and council media spokeswoman Therese Ryan says they are still awaiting Federal Government and private funding.
“It will be a multi-purpose second circuit, not just a motorcycle circuit, with a business park,” she says.
“There is no design for the circuit yet, we have called for expressions of interest from companies with the capacity to design the circuit and we are currently shortlisting those companies to then submit detailed tenders for the project design.”
Bathurst motorcycle racing history
The Mt Panorama circuit has a famed motorcycle racing history.
Bikes raced there from the 1940s and it hosted several pre-world-title Australian GPs.
Forrest’s Elbow is named after motorcycle racer Jack Forrest who scraped his elbow away after laying down his bike on the corner and Hell Corner is named after a tree stump at the apex where it was believed motorcyclists who misjudged the corner would die.
In the 1980s, the Easter Races were marred by riots until council imposed an alcohol ban.
Motorcycle racing at Bathurst finished in the late ’80s.
Since then, the touring cars and now V8 Supercars have heavily modified the circuit to a stage where is now not safe for motorcycle racing.
Hence the need for a new circuit.