A prominent Sydney industry member who has been at the coalface of discussions with the NSW Metro about Sydney International Speedway has enthused about what the Eastern Creek facility will do for the sport.
American Tire & Racing Services proprietor and Speedway Australia board member, Mark Cooper confirmed some details from the top secret meetings with the NSW Government on the Chatting with Sturat podcast with Stu McCarthy, saying he believes “100%” that speedway will have a future at Eastern Creek.
“The Government made a promise to our sport that if they were going to take away Parramatta, they were going to give us another place to race,” said Cooper, referring to the October announcement that rocked the sport.
“(The Speedway Australia board) is in an advisory capacity, not designing it or anything like that, that’s all being handled by the Metro, obviously with ideas (from industry members).
“I can confirm that Speedway Australia is not putting their hand up to run the speedway.”
The planning to build the Speedway in the Western Sydney Parklands area is complex to say the least with environmental studies needed around flora and fauna in the space, along with the other motorsport proprietors in the area - Sydney Dragway, Australian Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) and Sydney Premier Karting Park.
“I believe where it’s at is the (speedway site) is still part of the (Sydney Dragway) lease and that needs to be removed from that land. They are just working through that with the Dragway.”
Cooper urged Speedway supporters in Sydney to get behind the facility, which he confirmed will be 460 metres in circumference at one metre off the pole line (same length as Valvoline Raceway) and will be boarded by a fence.
“I think it is going to be a pretty neat thing for us to have a modern facility...there’s going to be challenges and we’ve lost a little bit of our heritage, but for me, I feel that we’re better to have something rather than nothing.
“I’ve seen them (Governments) build freeways and roads where they’ve taken people’s houses, they don’t say to them we’re going to build you a mansion down the waterfront as a replacement.
“So…I think that the fact that they are willing to build us a speedway is unreal.
“The virtual tour that I saw was like wow, holy crap. People will want to go to the speedway, it’s a nice facility,” said Cooper.
“It’s magic,” he added later in the discussion.
While too premature to reveal construction or operational details of the new speedway, Cooper says he is upset with how the current promotion - Made Too Go Pty Ltd - has been, “out in the cold” during the process.
“Of this whole situation, those that have a right to be upset is the promotion of VR,” he said. “They’ve kind of been left out in the cold a little bit. If it were not for their good work, we maybe would not have this situation from the Government. That is something that kind of sits uneasy with me.”
The virtual tour of Sydney International Speedway is expected to be made public shortly on the Sydney Metro website.
Cooper started racing at 16 in Midgets at Western Springs speedway in New Zealand and has gone on to be one of the most prominent importers in Australia, expanding his business internationally, where he currently has five staff in America. He has also been a car owner for World of Outlaws superstars Donny Schatz and Brad Sweet.
Photo: James Selwyn