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Calder closed?


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#1 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 May 2003 - 21:20

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport has issued a letter to car clubs etc advising that the Calder Park motorsporting facility is no longer operating.

Calder began life in 1962 or so, a short (1 mile) and in some ways uninteresting and very flat track between the railway line and the Calder Highway at Keilor, then well out of Melbourne.

Bob Jane took it over and became a model promoter through the late sixties and seventies, and on into the eighties. Great fields and great racing there during this era, but the great promotions were still on a flat and far too short circuit.

By importing massive quantities of surplus earth from somewhere, he built up the embankments that were to form the oval he built alongside the original circuit, and there's a provision for the two to be used together. He also, around the end of the eighties, made some changes to the road circuit, including putting a hill in it and extending its length a bit.

It had the capacity to be a bleak, cold and windswept place to be an uncomfortable spectator. And to be extremely hot and dusty.

I don't know the full situation with the circuit, I'd assume Jane is still the proprietor, but the promotional company that runs it has gone bankrupt it seems, and did so a couple of months ago.

The CAMS letter advises that they know of no other proposed use for the land, so they advise that it's possible that racing might resume under the auspicies of another promoter at some time.

But the biggest thing, as far as the CAMS are concerned, and Australian racing, is that Jane used Calder's position (and because of Calder's position...) to challenge the CAMS over their heavy handed dealings with promoters. He took them to the High Court (or was it the Supreme Court) and stopped just short of destroying them. He could have gone further, but his aim wasn't to do this, but to show them that they had a role in encouraging various forms of racing, not regulating them out of existence.

I think they've forgotten this lesson to a large degree, but today at least there are some meetings run without CAMS' blessing. Where before, particularly after the Mobil Trial of 1958, when many competitors and officials received life bans from motor sport, the spectre of CAMS watching closely prevented many doing what they might have wanted to do, Jane opened the way to change.

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#2 mickj

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 03:52

The circuit was in good nick when I was there last year. I 1st went to Calder 1n 1962 or '63, i have many happy memories being a spectator at Calder. I hope it does not close.

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 04:06

Well, it's early days yet...

Lakeside seems to have some hope going for it in relation to club events, by the way... but losing circuits seems to be a common thing.

Frank Burke pointed out many years ago that the average circuit in Australia lasted just over ten years.

Warwick Farm - 1960 - 1973
Catalina Park - 1961 - 1971
Lowood - 1948 - 1966
Mt Druitt - 1952 - 1957
Gnoo Blas - 1953 - 1961 ((?)
Longford - 1955 - 1968
Port Wakefield - 1953 - 1961
Mallala - 1961 - 1972 (first incarnation)
Amaroo Park - 1966 - 1998
Albert Park - 1953 - 1958 (first incarnation)
Surfers Paradise - 1966 - 1987
Altona - 1953 - 1955
Phillip Island - 1953 - 1963 (first incarnation)
Phillip Island - 1965 - 1979 (second incarnation)
Towac - 1965 - 1967
Hume Weir - 1959 - 1977
Strathpine - 1947 - 1959
Fishermens Bend - 1948 - 1961
Ballarat - four meetings only, 1947 - 1961
Nurioopta - 1948 - 1950
Woodside - 1949 - 1951
Caversham - 1946 - 1969
Parramatta Park - 1952 - 1954

Lots ran only a few times, particularly airstrip circuits (of which some are shown above). And there are others I may have forgotten (Pound Hill etc)... Some of the years may be one year out or so... but that's essentially the way it't been.

Frank was angling at the time to try and get circuits set up in newly created industrial areas, using the roads around the factories. As the areas became built out, the circuit would close and another would open elsewhere.

Funnily enough, it reflected the idea behind the hillclimb at Frankston in 1933... which was held purely to publicise a new industrial estate!

#4 Paul Newby

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 13:24

Ray, I think the circumstances regarding Calder Park are somewhat different to Lakeside, despite both promoters being ostensibly insolvent. Calder is being beseiged by encroaching housing development (Lakeside is flood prone) and this is the first step in the Bob Jane empire dismantling the whole complex, though I believe they are seperate to the track promoter.

Sure, Calder could operate without a CAMS track licence like Wakefield Park has the ability to do, but they would need to have their own public liability insurance cover. If they don't, then now wouldn't be a good time to be negotiating in the market (ask CAMS.)

Of course the rumours regarding the future of Sydney's Oran Park won't go away. Suburbia is rapidly closing in, but the rumour I heard is that the complex has been sold to the University of Western Sydney and they have given the circuit a 10 year operating lease and then its curtains. Apparently Oran Park cannot be zoned for housing as a coal seam runs through it.

Lets see what happens, but I'm not optimistic, long term.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 19:44

Lakeside isn't really flood prone, at least the bulk of the circuit and property... it's in a catchment area, actually adjoining a drinking water reservoir.

No additional housing is allowed to be built in the area. There's two residences on the property, to build new ones, those two need to be torn down and only two more can be built.

Jane has had the other insurances in place for years, I think you'll find. Wakefield Park, after all, followed his lead. I think that's the point, Jane made it all possible after three decades of people thinking they simply couldn't do it. CAMS has had to shrink back from its threats and decrees and place itself somewhere closer to where it should be.

#6 RTH

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 21:01

This is truly staggering to see that list of closed race circuits in Australia. What exactly is the current position - how many operational circuits do you have at present.

For example how many circuits would the typical Australian competitor or spectator be able to visit within say a 120 mile radius of home , assuming they lived in an area of major population ?

As a comparison here in south east England I have at least 7 full time circuits within 120 miles of home.

Our roads are now so heavily congested at all times that you are lucky now to achieve an average journey speed anywhere of over 40 mph from door to door , and in the greater London area which is roughly a circle of 50 miles diameter containing at least 10 million people the average road speed there on a week day is 9mph so it takes a very long time to go anywhere and this has become the limiting factor.

Does this latest development mean motor sport is in a decline in Australia what is the popularity now compared to that of the last 50 year period ? In short is it in trouble ? If so for what reasons ?

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 21:15

Television audiences, I'd say, are quite large.

On circuit spectating is achieving well for the upper echelon racing, seriously low for everyday racing...

Current circuits operating in Australia...

Once a year:

Adelaide South Australia (500km touring cars)
Albert Park Victoria (AGP)
Surfers Paradise street circuit (CART)

Twice a year:

Bathurst NSW (100km touring cars, 24 hour race)

Permanent circuits:

Morgan Park Qld
Willowbank (Queensland Raceway) Qld

Eastern Creek NSW
Oran Park NSW
Wakefield Park NSW

Winton Vic
Sandown Park Vic
Phillip Island Vic

Symmons Plains Tas (and frankly I don't know if Baskerville is gone or not!)

Mallala SA
Adelaide Int Raceway SA (I think it runs sometimes)

Wanneroo Park WA

That's a much lower number than used to be about! Most of this motor racing 'depression' I would put down to the over emphasis on the top touring cars and the emaciation of other classes as a result. But that seems to be the modern way of things everywhere...

There is a very strong competitor base, and club meetings abound despite costings that are through the roof. Circuits that do exist have no trouble being fully booked all year round.

My list, by the way, doesn't include many other circuits that came and went... there have been over a hundred circuits in Australia.

Regarding your question of the 120m radius... if you're in southern or western suburbs of Brisbane you have all three in that range. Same applies if you're in the extreme west of Sydney... all four NSW circuits are within 120m. Winton is just inside that range from Melbourne's northern suburbs, and Phillip Island would be getting close, Sandown is only 15m from the centre of Melbourne and is the best placed of all the circuits except for (perhaps) Eastern Creek.

#8 Flying Panda

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 03:03

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Lakeside seems to have some hope going for it in relation to club events, by the way... but losing circuits seems to be a common thing.

Lakeside is here to stay forever,
Lakeside has successfully become the first motorsports venue to get a full and permanant lisitng on the World Heratige list theingy....
you know what i mean.

As for Clader park, i think Mr. Jane is fed up with the circuit and theevents held there in reent years failing to make money for him.
Thats the sole reason he stopped Drag racing at Calder.

But you know what they say about assuming.

#9 eldougo

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 06:25

:rolleyes: :up:

Ray Bell---.]]]]]]]] CAMS has had to shrink back from its threats and decrees and place itself somewhere closer to where it should be.

__________________________

HELPING CLUB RACING 1st WOULD BE GREAT . THEY seem to have forget why they are there in the first place. an who put them THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!! :mad:

#10 RTH

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 06:37

Ray,

On the face of it this does not seem too bad a picture, but especially for those of us who have never visited Australia its hard to make comparisons with England when we have such a tiny land mass compared to the vast expanse of Australia and we now have in excess of 60 million people on this island - just what is the current population in your country?

How expensive is it to take part or watch motor racing over there? Here its at least £10 to go in to even the most minor club meeting £25+ for a touring car meeting £200+ min for the Grand Prix

Competitor entry fees £190 for one 10 lap lowly club race , other national and higher profile races typically £300-700 per race top level races now measured in many thousands for a seasons entry fees alone . I believe currently its about $2AUS to one £ . Petrol (gasoline ) here is £4 per gallon ( $8 Aus )

Here the circuit owners charge far too much to the organising clubs - not only do they pass that on without a murmur but add all their own top heavy extravagant spending as a result competitor costs are double in real terms what they ought to be and long term completely unsustainable which unless drastically cut will kill off the sport in all but the tiny tip.

How does Australia compare?

#11 Catalina Park

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 06:49

Just as I thought......... CAMS doing their usual tricks.


BUSINESS AS USUAL AT CALDER PARK RACEWAY


May 21 2003 - In response to a press release issued at the close of business on Monday (May 19) by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), the Chairman of the Bob Jane Group of Companies - Bob Jane, confirms that CAMS has cancelled Calder Park Raceway's Track Licence.


One of several points that CAMS missed in their three paragraph and three quotation based statement was that this action has little to no effect on the popular Melbourne motorsport venue. This is due to the fact that all events held at Calder Park Raceway are licensed by Auscar Pty Ltd - a delegation by CAMS and the FIA which was the result of a legal settlement following Federal Court action taken against CAMS by Bob Jane in 1993.


To further clarify this point, Calder Park Racing Promotions Pty Ltd will promote events - including the venue's popular Legal Off Street Drag Racing events, rent the venue and conduct whatever events it chooses to under this delegated Auscar Racing sanctioning well into the future.


The number of CAMS permit requiring events held at Calder Park Raceway has dramatically declined in recent years in line with major increases in CAMS permit fees. As a consequence of these increased costs to promoters, clubs and general competitors, (some of which have escalated by up to 75% in recent years), the loss of this track licence makes little to no impact on the operations of this Melbourne motor racing venue.


"There is no doubt that the timing and wording of the brief press release issued by CAMS on Monday was designed to create the maximum possible confusion amongst regular Calder Park Raceway users," Bob Jane said. "The concept that Calder Park has to rely on CAMS in order to promote events or conduct circuit hire is laughable - I thought that this was clearly proved by my Federal Court action in 1993, but it seems that I may have to remind them again," He said.


"While the result of this CAMS action may cause some inconvenience for clubs and associations in the short term, there is no doubt that CAMS have also done these clubs, associations and individuals a favour in the long term as their action will result in lower cost events and circuit hire in the future," Jane added.


Calder Park regrets any inconvenience caused by the unfortunate wording and timing of the CAMS press release to regular Calder Park users and visitors and re-assures all interested parties that it is definitely business as usual at Calder Park.


Jane is currently seeking legal counsel in relation to notices issued to clubs and associations in relation to the CAMS cancellation of the Calder Park track licence and will not hesitate to take action where appropriate.


The new operating entity of Calder Park Raceway, Calder Park Racing Promotions Pty Ltd emphasises that the venue's Wednesday open practice days, and Legal Off Street Drag Racing events continue (next event this Friday night May 23) and for all remaining 2003 scheduled dates, as does the venue's popular Cruise Nights and general circuit hire activities.


Calder Park is owned by Calder Park Raceway Pty Ltd and has appointed a new operator, Calder Park Racing Promotions Pty Ltd to continue the venue's many promotions and circuit hire activities into the future.

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 13:40

Originally posted by RTH
.....How does Australia compare?


I think the pound is more like $3 Australian.

Typical state level entry fees might be $200 or so, admission about $10. Higher level meetings can be much higher, of course, but running a lower category car at one of these is becoming an expensive proposition. Ask Catalina Park... I think he's vowed that CAMS will never get another dollar from him...

Which means that the new promoters group that is challenging the CAMS' authority (and riding on the back of Jane's 1993 court action as mentioned in Catalina's post) will benefit competitors.

Our petrol price is about 69c to 92c (depending on where you are) for normal unleaded.

Admission to the AGP is something I'm not sure of, but I think you can get in from under $150, with top seats about $250. No idea what admission is to a major national meeting.

#13 Mat

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 14:53

Glad to hear Calder is still running. I was a little worried there for a minute. I live about an hour from the track, but havent been to see any action there since last winter.

To continue with what Ray is saying.

Admission to the AGP is from approx $100 (33quid) for Sunday general admission ticket. A 4-day grandstand ticket will set you back between $350 - $550.

Admission to a V8 Supercar meeting is about $45 for the sunday.

#14 RTH

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 16:40

Thanks for the enlightenment Gentlemen most interesting ,either your prices are remarkably low or ours are scandalously high - I very much suspect the latter.

I suppose to put this in to context we must consider pay.

Our minimum wage is £4 per hour - £160 per week and there is probably at least 20 % of the population on this or less! The average wage is £9.5 per hour - £380 per week but a statistical average is misleading as it includes the top 5% who are on very high pay . So the typical UK working man in the street is probably paid about £7.5 per hour , of course the top 1% are on obscenely high pay all these figures are gross before tax or any deductions.

If our entry fees were as low as yours I'd be getting one of the cars out for a comeback !

Is that really right you can get in to a race meeting for £3.50 prices here have not been that low for 20 years or more !

I take it that petrol price of about 80c is per litre ? that is 1/3 the price it is here, for you to fill up a Ford Mondeo here would cost you $150 $120 of that goes straight to our greedy government in tax

I think you can count your blessings ! By the way a small 4 Bedroom house in south east England is now £500,000 pounds -- $ 1.5 M dollars last week in our local paper there were at least a dozen houses at 3 times even that price - total meltdown here can only be just around the corner !

How hard is it to move to Australia !

#15 Mat

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 02:13

I wouldnt imagine its that hard considering there seems to be more and more of you migrating here by the day!!

Our minimum wage is approx $9 (£3) per hour - $360 per week.
Im not 100% sure, but I think the typical Australian working man would be earning $17 (£5.5) per hour - $680 per week. Or there abouts. I might need someone with some facts to correct me though.

Yes petrol here in the two major cities (Melbourne, Sydney) is about 80c per litre, give or take.

For an equivalent house in inner city Melb your probably looking at 60% of that price. Sydney housing is VERY expensive so it wouldnt surprise me if pricing wasnt too far off 1Mill or more for similar.

#16 Option1

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 04:02

One quick correction. The AUD:GBP exchange rate at the moment is 2.496715:1 . In other words the Brit pound is worth about $2.50 Orstralian rather than $3.

Neil

#17 RTH

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 08:00

What have we learned :-

You chaps in Australia - don't worry be happy , you have the great climate,wide open spaces,a cost of living at least 1/3 less by any measure than England or Europe for that matter - and Motor Sport at relative bargain prices we are told that New Zealand in particular has the cleanest and most well balanced environment on Earth.

You can count yourselves very lucky.

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 20:49

Cars and parts are dear, however, and some other stuff...

And it's soooo hard to get to Europe!

As for house pricing in Sydney, $400,000 recently bought a home near my first one in Greystanes, about 20 miles from Sydney (but still well within the metro area... that extends to Penrith, where it might be a bit cheaper).

Brisbane and Adelaide are the cheapest cities on the mainland to live in. But bear in mind that they are 2100kms apart by the shortest road route. Brisbane is 1800kms from Melbourne and 910 from Sydney. Adelaide is about 700 from Melbourne and 1400 from Sydney.

Then there's Perth, over 2000km from Adelaide in the opposite direction!

Traffic fines are another thing I feel it would be interesting to compare. Speeding fines netted by the multitude of speed cameras on our roads range up to a hefty $3000 in NSW!

#19 mscheeres

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 18:59

I am sorry for bumping this old thread, but always better than creating a new one I guess...

What is the difference between Keilor Int'l Raceway and Calder Park? My copy of the television broadcast of the 1985 ATCC round is calling this track "Keilor International Raceway" instead of Calder Park. It also seems the track layout is not similar. When was the track rebuilt and changed to Calder Park?

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#20 timbo

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 20:00

About the only difference is they put an extra "squiggle" in the esses at the end of the back straight.

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 21:44

The whole place operates at the whim of Bob Jane...

So if he wants a different name for some reason, he adopts it. The running of the show, I believe, has now passed on to Rodney Jane and he's said to be not terribly interested in any of it.

Income for the facility comes from the megabucks they charge construction companies to dump soil from building jobs in the city, the place is covered with small clay mountain ranges these days.

#22 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 22:32

It has been called a few things over the years. To most people it is plain Calder. It was updated twice, the first extension had Mt Jane and then the biggy with the Thunderdome alongside and ocasionally part of the road circuit. I believe it is still used for Sprints etc?
A place I have never competed, or even been too.I entered for the 84 GP meeting but got sick and never got there.

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 23:05

Actually, that double kink in the esses was the first mod...

Though the Thunderdome might have been in place at the time. I would reckon 'Mt Jane' (I guess this is the hill they go over after Repco?) came after the Thunderdome.

#24 timbo

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 23:06

I've only been there twice (I'm a Sydney person). Once was in the early 1980's for an AGP meeting with the Formula Atlantics (Alfie ran the Tiga in P.Jackson colours), and the other was for a State Championship a few years ago where admission was free, just sign a waiver, and due to the drag racing traction compound sprayed onto the main straight, the track was only licenced for a dry track.
If it rained, thats it, racing is off.

#25 racer69

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 15:22

I am sorry for bumping this old thread, but always better than creating a new one I guess...

What is the difference between Keilor Int'l Raceway and Calder Park? My copy of the television broadcast of the 1985 ATCC round is calling this track "Keilor International Raceway" instead of Calder Park. It also seems the track layout is not similar. When was the track rebuilt and changed to Calder Park?

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Its all the same place. The original track was similiar to the above pic, just at the end of the lap it was "right, left, right" as opposed to "right, left, right, left, right" if that makes any sense :)

Those changes were made in 1984 (and i think in 1984 they name was changed from Calder Park to 'Melbourne International Raceway'?)

Either way in 1985 it was called Keilor International Raceway...... not sure why, the only reference i've ever seen to that name is on the Channel 7 broadcast of the meeting. In the Swann Series telecast later in the year, ABC Sport refer to the track as just Calder Park...

In 1986 the track was extended to its most recent layout (with Mt Jane), and in 1986 it was back to being called Calder Park again.

The Thunderdome was being built during 1986 & 1987, and opened with a 300km touring car race using both the road course and oval in August 1987. The combined course was then used again for the WTCC race in November 1987, before the first NASCAR race was held on the dome in February 1988.

Edited by racer69, 08 July 2011 - 15:24.


#26 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 22:50

I think it is probably too hard to change the name of a place once it is set in people minds. Calder is Calder whatever the owner may wish!
The same as Football Pk is Football Pk whatever they want to call it these days.
Or nicknames, McNamara Pk the motorccle and kart track at Mt Gambier is universally known as Mac Pk. I had someone in here the other day who has been there a dozen times and did not know!!

#27 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 23:03

I've only been there twice (I'm a Sydney person). Once was in the early 1980's for an AGP meeting with the Formula Atlantics (Alfie ran the Tiga in P.Jackson colours), and the other was for a State Championship a few years ago where admission was free, just sign a waiver, and due to the drag racing traction compound sprayed onto the main straight, the track was only licenced for a dry track.
If it rained, thats it, racing is off.

I think AIR was the same at one time. Though I never found it to be a problem. But you had to hug the marbles offline to come onto the straight otherwise it was slippery, but that was more rubber down than anything. Really the same at all tracks.

I feel sure that if Jane wanted to have a Thupercar race there those considerations woud disapear if he paid Cockroach a lot of money. Or is that only for street circuits?
But ofcourse he would have to do it at taxpayers expense, as he would never make a profit on running a race meeting.

Quiz. who won their only Thupercar race at Calder?