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1988 Australian circuit lengths


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#1 Frank de Jong

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 07:59

While working on the 1988 Australian Touring Car championships, I came across something peculiar. Normally, I check circuit lengths by calculating average speed backwards and compare that to the many sites, and mostly that works fine.
Now for the Australian season, I encounter many new circuits (for me that is :drunk: ) and since I don't have average speeds so far I have to rely on the data I got, and check that with the circuit sites like Motor Racing Circuits Database.
This is what I found so far:
Calder Park: 2.400 m from my data, which doesn't fit with MRCD.
Symmons Plains: 2.411 m
Winton: 2.030 m
Wanneroo: 2.411 m
Adelaide Int Raceway: 2.410 m
Lakeside: 2.411 m

So 4 out of 6 seem to be about 2.410 m or 1,5 miles long. Is that a coincidence, or is there a reason for this?

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#2 David Shaw

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 10:54

While working on the 1988 Australian Touring Car championships, I came across something peculiar. Normally, I check circuit lengths by calculating average speed backwards and compare that to the many sites, and mostly that works fine.
Now for the Australian season, I encounter many new circuits (for me that is :drunk: ) and since I don't have average speeds so far I have to rely on the data I got, and check that with the circuit sites like Motor Racing Circuits Database.
This is what I found so far:
Calder Park: 2.400 m from my data, which doesn't fit with MRCD.
Symmons Plains: 2.411 m
Winton: 2.030 m
Wanneroo: 2.411 m
Adelaide Int Raceway: 2.410 m
Lakeside: 2.411 m

So 4 out of 6 seem to be about 2.410 m or 1,5 miles long. Is that a coincidence, or is there a reason for this?


2 the same would be coincidence. 4 the same? I think not. It was probably decided that the optimal length would be a mile-and-a-half (considering by the time the last of these circuits were built, AIR, it was only at the beginning of Australia changing over to metric measurement).

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 13:03

I wouldn't think so, David...

At Lakeside, the natural flow of the place would have determined the length, 'evening out' to 1.5 miles was a logical thing to do under the circumstances.

Calder was originally built to be a 1-mile track, the constraints of the property would have prevented any more than the 2.4kms when it was 'redesigned'... especially bearing in mind it had to fit in with the Thunderdome.

Symmons Plains couldn't have been much longer, if any longer at all.

Winton was originally 1.25 miles IIRC, which would be the 2030m mentioned. The extensions would have made it more like the 'usual' 2.4kms or maybe a tad more.

Adelaide International had to fit in with a speedway and was built on a very limiting block of land.

On the other hand, opening at about the same time as Lakeside and Symmons (give or take two or three years) were Warwick Farm (2.25 miles), Sandown Park (1.926 miles), Mallala (1.6 miles), Catalina Park (1.3 miles - in very tight confines) and Baskerville (1.2 miles - again filling the available land), Hume Weir squeezed into its gravel pit with less than 1.2 miles.

So there is no really regular pattern to it. In 1965 Keith Williams, who built Adelaide International, had built his Surfers Paradise circuit at 2.0 miles, while he was planning a circuit nearer to 3 miles outside of Melbourne. In 1963 Oran Park was lengthened to about 1.25 miles and in 1974 it had the option added of an extended version well over 1.5 miles.

Edited by Ray Bell, 17 November 2011 - 22:45.


#4 HeskethBoy

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 22:37

An old CAMS Manual will give most circuit lengths.i.e.:
Calder - National - 2.28 km Club - 1.45 km
Lakeside - 2.41 km
Adelaide - 2.41 km Short Circuit - 1.77 km
Winton - 3.00 km Short Circuit - 2.03 km (but remember that Winton has had several alterations over the years)

It was the late Keith Williams who built Surfers Paradise INternational Raceway.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 22:47

Thanks for spotting the error... at least I had the 'k' right!

I know of only one change to Winton, that being the addition of the extra loop for the Stupidcars. And that change (like the extension to Oran Park) made no difference to the original circuit.

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 06:13

It's fairly clear that these 2.41 and 2.414 figures come from people converting 1.5 miles, which might actually have been 1.47 or 1.53...

#7 Catalina Park

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 09:52

In the nineteen fifties CAMS told the Blue Mountains council that the minimum circuit length was three and a half miles.

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 10:54

I sincerely doubt that, Michael...

Perhaps some individual from the CAMS who was sticking his bib in somewhere it didn't belong said that. But as an official CAMS edict it would never carry any weight.

Only three circuits at the time eclipsed that distance... Longford, Bathurst and Southport. The latter only, of course, if it was prior to 1955. In which case, I guess, you could add Leyburn to that list.

Of artificial circuits, only Phillip Island and Lowood were anything close to this.

Edited by Ray Bell, 18 November 2011 - 10:55.


#9 Catalina Park

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 11:02

It was the CAMS publicity officer, a Mr G Wilkins.

Probably just deliberate misinformation to try and prevent the circuit from being built.

#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 11:22

It's fairly clear that these 2.41 and 2.414 figures come from people converting 1.5 miles, which might actually have been 1.47 or 1.53...

The FIA Yellow Book gives Adelaide as "1.5 miles/2.41km" and Calder as "2.4km/1.491 miles". Presumably that means that the official measurement of Adelaide was done in Imperial units and of Calder in metric.

Although of course if Adelaide is exactly 1.5 miles, then it's 2.414km plus an odd 1.6mm. Equally, if Calder was exactly 2.4km, then that works out at 1.491290861369602 miles (or 1 mile 864 yards 2 feet 2.7 inches).





#11 Terry Walker

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 12:13

Wanneroo Park was specifically designed as 1.5 miles, but couldn't have been much longer given the site they had. It would have to have been ultra-Tilked to fit anything longer in the space.

#12 Russell Burrows

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 12:19

Since most were horribly dangerous, their lack of length was their one redeeming feature.

#13 GMACKIE

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 21:06

Since most were horribly dangerous, their lack of length was their one redeeming feature.

Only as dangerous as you wanted to make them.


#14 DanTra2858

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 00:37

Only as dangerous as you wanted to make them.


I agree with Greg, but what does make a circuit Dangerous, is it rock or cement walls, bad run off area or no runoff area, slow, medium or fast corners or other compeditors ?????

#15 GMACKIE

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 01:47

Walls, fences, etc. don't hit YOU.......YOU hit them! Other competitors can hit you. :rolleyes:

#16 Russell Burrows

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 12:23

Only as dangerous as you wanted to make them.


We're talking about someone sitting down with a clean sheet of paper and designing in little or no run off areas, concrete walls, armco and the like and/or routing the layout adjacent to natural features such as rock faces etc... For bike guys in particular, many Australian circuits were crazily dangerous.

#17 David McKinney

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 14:18

That's the way it was everywhere on those days - when men were men and motor racing was dangerous :)

#18 Russell Burrows

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 15:18

That's the way it was everywhere on those days - when men were men and motor racing was dangerous :)


You remember it as like this?
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#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 19:49

You've selected an exception there, Russell...

Built when the Speedways Act of 1957 was just coming into force, they simply didn't understand what they had to do.

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#20 Russell Burrows

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 13:26

You've selected an exception there, Russell...

Built when the Speedways Act of 1957 was just coming into force, they simply didn't understand what they had to do.


Well, the Catalina shot is from around '68, a year or so before the place closed, so clearly they wern't too fussed about making changes. Not too exceptional either, Ray, cos 250 miles down the road we had this joint:
Posted Image



#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 13:31

What could happen at Catalina once it was built?

And Hume Weir was in Victoria, where there was nothing like the Speedways Act.

Actually, there's nothing inherently dangerous about that wall between the sections of the circuit there.

#22 Russell Burrows

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 15:26

Actually, there's nothing inherently dangerous about that wall between the sections of the circuit there.


Easily the most perfunctory comment on here for some time.

Ray, loath as I am to offend your Dinki Di sensibilities, isn't it a pretty difficult task for anyone to contest the assertion that many of Australia's circuits back then were other than both woefully dangerous and really quite undemanding. Some feat that ?

Edited by Russell Burrows, 20 November 2011 - 16:46.


#23 sonar

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 17:44

While looking for something else I came across this site: http://www.etrackson.../australia.html



#24 Frank de Jong

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 18:58

That's a handy site, thanks!

#25 GMACKIE

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 20:01

That's a handy site, thanks!

It sure is........and it takes things back on track, so to speak. :up:


#26 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 11:47

And not very accurate in description. AIR seriously overgrown. I dont think so as it is still used for drive traing and the like.
And a basic club circuit until Janey bought it. Wrong. Then it was one of the premier circuits in Oz.

#27 Team Result

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 15:33

And not very accurate in description. AIR seriously overgrown. I dont think so as it is still used for drive traing and the like.
And a basic club circuit until Janey bought it. Wrong. Then it was one of the premier circuits in Oz.


Hmm, it lists Lakeside as 1.44 miles, never heard that length used anywhere else, though never checked the length myself either.
It also omits Surfers Paradise International Raceway.

#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 23:07

Originally posted by Lee Nicolle
And not very accurate in description. AIR seriously overgrown. I don't think so as it is still used for drive training and the like.
And a basic club circuit until Janey bought it. Wrong. Then it was one of the premier circuits in Oz.


Well...

That site was obviously written up in 2005 or 2006, and the 'seriously overgrown' bit was just about the oval.

I agree, however, that the first couple of decades saw it as much more than a club circuit. Even the shorter 'club circuit' was used for National Championship events.

Correct, Ross, the only length ever quoted for lakeside was 1.5 miles. I wonder if it's got mixed up in its miles and kilometres?

#29 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 02:47

Well...

That site was obviously written up in 2005 or 2006, and the 'seriously overgrown' bit was just about the oval.

I agree, however, that the first couple of decades saw it as much more than a club circuit. Even the shorter 'club circuit' was used for National Championship events.

Correct, Ross, the only length ever quoted for lakeside was 1.5 miles. I wonder if it's got mixed up in its miles and kilometres?

Ray, the oval is part of the circuit proper and always has been ofcourse. Not a lot has happened there for a decade but it does still have drive training etc at least monthly. and grass doesnt grow on a [semi] busy street.
There was something happeneing there last weekend as i drove by on my way to mallala and there is 1/8 mile [ooh aah] drags there next weekend

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 22 November 2011 - 02:49.


#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 07:12

Lee, my main point was that the web page dated from back in 2005 or 2006, at which time there may well have been nothing going on there...

I've been there often enough to know that the oval is part of both road circuit layouts.