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Sydney on track for new $40m circuit as Oran Park era ends

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by pvda, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. Link

    Sydney on track for new $40m circuit as Oran Park era ends
    Peter McKay
    August 20, 2006


    SYDNEY will get a new international-standard motor racing facility on the outskirts of the metropolitan area.

    Oran Park Raceway near Narellan will close in late 2008 to be turned into housing. But plans are under way to trade it for a modern, state-of-the-art racing circuit.

    Tony Perich, whose family company Leppington Pastoral owns Oran Park, has been speaking with the state government about zoning for three possible locations which he says are "not too far away" from Oran Park.

    Unlike the two plans before the government for temporary street racing circuits at the Olympic precinct at Homebush Bay, the new track will not require any taxpayer funding. It could cost as much as $40 million to build.

    Perich's company bought Oran Park Raceway in 1983 and since then he has become passionate about motor racing.

    Perich became an overnight multimillionaire after his vast pastoral land holdings south-west of Sydney were rezoned for housing. Up to 181,000 homes will eventually be built on the rezoned areas south-west and north-west of the metropolitan area.

    BRW estimates Perich's wealth at $637 million because of the land sales.

    The amiable but media-shy 65-year-old said he wants the track at the new western Sydney venue to incorporate many of the characteristics of his existing circuit.

    "All the good stuff that the drivers and the spectators like at Oran Park I want to recreate at the new place," Perich said.

    These include replicas of the notorious flip-flop and some of the challenging Oran Park corners. He expects the roller-coaster effect to be prominent and a natural amphitheatre for spectators.

    Oran Park opened in 1962 and the circuit was extended in the early 1970s to create the present layout.

    In the era of the thundering V8 Formula 5000 cars, it twice hosted the Australian Grand Prix, won by Max Stewart (1974) and Warwick Brown (1978).

    Oran Park pioneered racing under lights and hosted the world superbike championship races when the series came to Australia for the first time in 1988.

    However, touring cars and then V8 Supercars have been Oran Park's biggest annual treat, regularly going close to filling the 30,000-capacity venue.

    Perich is planning to see off the old track with a farewell meeting laced with nostalgia and reminders of the circuit's grand history and star drivers.

    So motorsports worst kept secret has become public knowledge to the masses in the Sunday Herald at the weekend.

    So, Sydney members, although the Australian Supers give Oran Park a miss these days there's still club meetings run out there and from memory the World Supers have played there in the pre PI days what do you reckon?? Will you miss the old girl and are you looking forward to a new track that will able to be used by everyone and not just a silly street circuit around Homebush for the domestic taxi series??
  2. Will I miss Oran Park??? Where do I start???

    Frantic Saturday night dashes from Wollongong in an overheating Mini Minor or an ill-handling FJ Holden for the Night Races. The worst country speedway wouldn't even open on a Saturday night today if their lights were as bad as Oran Park's were, but Lefler and Stewart and John Goss raced at vastly higher speeds than any speedway, under them, augmented by rudimetary lights on the cars. And the crowd cheered themselves hoarse, for what they could see....

    John Goss in the Tornado Holden being punted off the track and lurking in the shadows before Energol before the perpetrator came round again, pouncing on him out of the darkness, and punting HIM off the track :LOL:

    Alain Prost, Lela Lombardi (yep, a lady) and Keke Rosberg competing for the Australian GP in RALT FII cars.

    The ground rippling and shaking downstream from the pits as Maxie Stewart and Warwick Brown and company pounded past in the unbelievable Formula 5000 Lolas

    Johhny Lefler, Brian Foley, Skinny Manton and Don Holland doing everything but get out of their super-lightweight Minis and hit each other with spanners.... The fibreglass door skins on these cars were so thin that in the night races with the light behind them, you could see the outline of the driver at work.....

    The light-speed corner speed of the Craven Mild Corvair as it peeled left at the end of the long-track main straight....

    Warren Willing, the late, beloved Gregg Hansford and Kiwi interloper John Woodley staging the single most exciting motorcycle race ever held on Australia soil in the Rothmans 750 Pro-Series final. Woodley on a Suzuki 500 nearly pinched the race, that was over in two seconds, or so it felt, from the two best 750cc pilots the world has ever produced....

    Greg Pretty on the Pitmans XS-1100 Yamaha Special winning the Coca-Cola 800 in the pouring rain. And Lee Roebuck finishing third on a Ducati Pantah with a dead-stock 500cc engine, even though the lower limit for the race was 600cc.... And Wayne Gardner falling off three times, till, covered with mud, he finally admitted that even HIS legendary wet-weather skills had limits.

    And speaking of the Wollongong Wiz, Wayne's first ever ride on tar, at the Wollongong MCC Christmas Club day in 1976, wringing the neck of his 125 Yamaha motocrosser until it holed a piston over the top of the dog-leg

    And backing up for the first C Grade day in 1977 on the Kevin Cass Yamaha TZ-250 C (I think) and riding the programme, until he fell off and broke his wrist trying to win the final race of the day....

    Ah, memories....... Whatever they build, nothing will compare with these and a thousand other etchings of sounds sights and smells....

    I'll shut up now :grin: