Revving up for second track

PLANS for a second track at Mount Panorama will be back on the agenda if Bathurst Regional Council is successful in its bid to buy a tract of land east of Conrod Straight.

Negotiations over the land were revealed at this week’s policy committee meeting.

Councillor Michael Coote raised the issue, asking mayor Gary Rush if council had made any progress on the second track proposal.

“We talk a lot about tourism and what we can bring to town,” Cr Coote said. “Here we have a unique racing circuit, but to have a second circuit that could be used every day of the year would be another money stream for the city.”

Cr Rush responded by saying deputy mayor Ian North and senior council staff had joined him at a meeting with the land owner to discuss council buying the property.

“The gentleman owns a significant parcel of land on the eastern side of Conrod Straight,” Cr Rush said.

“Our discussions were a continuation of council’s policy of seeking to acquire land as it becomes available, which would then allow us to turn our minds again to the idea of a second circuit.”

Cr Rush said negotiations remained at an early stage, though senior staff had prepared a valuation of the land.

Council has put that valuation to the owner and asked him to come back with a price of his own.

Cr North said council staff had received a “ballpark figure” from the owner and corporate services director Bob Roach would look more closely at the proposal.

Racing fans have long pushed the case for a second track on Mount Panorama to broaden the range of motor racing at the circuit.

Currently it is unsafe for motorcycles to race on the mount circuit and difficult for open-wheelers to compete there. 

A report prepared by the Homebush Motor Racing Authority in 2010 found a second track would cost around $47 million to build, plus an extra $50 million for upgraded infrastructure at the mount. 

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