AN Australian motorcycling magazine has come out strongly against the Newcastle Supercars race and described the Supercars franchise as “a constant drain on the public purse”.
The editorial article written in the latest edition of Old Bike Australasia by its editor, Jim Scaysbrook, is important because it shows that doubts exist within the motor sport industry, which would usually be expected to back such a venture as the Newcastle race.
The Newcastle Herald’s attention was drawn to Mr Scaysbrook’s article – titled “Taking the bait again?” – by motor racing veteran Rob Rowe, who moved to Mount Hutton from Sydney in 2014.
Mr Rowe, who had a long association with the former Amaroo Park raceway in Sydney and who raced cars and bikes in three states, says the Supercars franchise has left “a trail of unfulfilled promises in its wake for more than 20 years”.
Mr Scaysbrook told the Herald he wrote his editorial after reading a letter to editor in the Sydney Morning Herald in December. He said there were many in the motor sport industry who believed Supercars was a “selfish” franchise that gave nothing back to the industry that sustained it.
He said the money that governments spent converting city streets for three days of racing every year would be much better spent in building a racetrack that could be used by all tiers of motor sport.
In Old Bike Australasia, Mr Scaysbrook said the government had promised the race would “showcase Newcastle to the world’.
“Bollocks to that,” Mr Scaysbrook wrote. “What the event will showcase will be several kilometres of concrete fencing, topped by debris fencing to catch flying bits of cars as they continually smash into each other in this rather indelicate form of motor sport.
“History has shown that similar urban events are nothing but a constant drain on the public purse, delivering far less economic benefits than the initial spin promises.”
Mr Scaysbrook asked: “Why do these behemoths require street circuits, which, apart from the disruption and expense to burghers [residents], cause massive damage to competing vehicles, concrete being rather inflexible? Any of these events [Homebush, Canberra, Hamilton in New Zealand] could have been staged at a purpose-built circuit . . .”
Mr Scaysbrook said the Hunter had been “pleading for a road racing circuit for as long as I can remember”.
Mr Rowe said a permanent racing circuit brought in money every day of the week, not just on weekend race days.
He said the Supercars had run at Eastern Creek and there was no reason that they had to be on the street.