Rally to Parliament House on this weekend; Collie and Keysbrook emerge as potential Barbagallo replacements

A HIGH-LEVEL meeting with Western Australia’s Minister for Sport and Recreation has sparked a flurry of activity towards the return of motorcycles to Barbagallo Raceway. But, as WA’s motorcycle road-racing community sets itself for a high-profile rally to the steps of Parliament House this weekend in a united call for action, there remains a genuine prospect that WA will never see motorcycle racing at Wanneroo again.

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With a troublesome retaining wall at Turn 3 (the track’s S-bend), a lukewarm enthusiasm in some quarters for expensive works to solve the issue, and with two potential alternative race tracks now visible to the public, there is a real chance that Barbagallo will become a venue for motorcycle training and track days only — and not for full-on racing.

Motorcycling Australia is currently reviewing track improvement works that have been done at the circuit in the past year and so-called “administration controls” that could be implemented to reduce risk at Turn 3. If all goes well, the capital works and administrative controls could have training events and track days back at Barbagallo sooner rather than later.

But The Bike Shed Times understands most stakeholders believe administration controls are not going to be enough for a return to racing — either the retaining wall at Turn 3 will have to be relocated away from the track (by 35-odd metres) or the track will have to be realigned to remove the S-bend completely. The financial cost of either solution, and only lukewarm enthusiasm from non-motorcycle users for either solution, might prove too hard.

There is known to be discomfort — and possibly even trepidation — about what geotechnical surveys might find in the ground behind the Turn 3 retaining wall. One stakeholder told The Bike Shed Times: “There’s half a shopping centre under there.”

The relocation of the wall would also effectively remove arguably the best spectator area at the facility; a prospect that does not rest well with many of Barbagallo’s users and supporters.

CAPTION: A major chunk of that nice grassed spectator area would disappear if the Turn 3 retaining wall and fence were moved 35m back from the track. Some Barbagallo users and supporters are saying: “No way.”

Stakeholders met with Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray several weeks ago and agreed to a list of actions aimed at clearing the way for non-racing bike activities to resume and also at identifying the true cost and scope of moving the wall at Turn 3. The meeting was attended by Motorcycling WA President Peter Clark and CEO Rick Gill, Motorcycling Australia CEO Peter Doyle, and representatives from the WA Sporting Car Club which operates the circuit, the Motorcycle Racing Club of WA, the City of Wanneroo, the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries (formerly Department of Sport and Recreation), and Barbagallo lobby group ‘We Need Our Track Back’.

CAPTION: Mick Murray is reportedly not happy at wearing the blame for Barbagallo’s ongoing bike-free status.
CAPTION: The Collie circuit is a three-hour drive from Perth, but is already attracting a lot of support.

It’s understood that meeting was sometimes fiery, with Mr Murray openly annoyed at copping flak for the track being closed, given that the closure occured before he inherited the Sport and Recreation portfolio, and that the stakeholders, arguably at least, have the power themselves to solve the problems without Government involvement.

The first of the two alternative race tracks already exists. Riders are reporting good things from the extended track at Collie, with one report to The Bike Shed Times giving the circuit a rating of “better than Barbagallo” and a main straight with 250kmh superbike potential.

The second alternative is, so far, only a proposal. A company called Stati Investments Pty Ltd has proposed an all-new $3.6 million motorsport facility at Keysbrook, 30km south-east of Rockingham. The company is believed to be connected to the Stati Group, a West Australian family-owned business that works in property investment, development and construction.

In a Development Application to the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire Council, the proponents describe the proposed circuit as “regionally significant”.

“The Motorsport Facility will ultimately have the ability to host national and international sporting events with designed construction to achieve FIA and CAMS standards for cars and motorbikes and CIK level for Go-Karts,” the application says.

The Barbagallo circuit was closed to bikes in November 2016 after a second fatal crash for the year. In May of 2016, Daniel Chadbund, 28, was killed when he was thrown from his bike and struck a tyre wall during the opening round of the 2016 State Road Racing Championships. And then in November, Chris Adley, 21, fell off his bike and was run over by the rider behind him during a race at the Kings of Wanneroo event.

This weekend’s rally to Parliament House has been organised by Barbagallo lobby group ‘We Need Our Track Back’, which has been advocating for relevant parties to do what needs to be done to get bikes — both for racing and for training — back at Barbagallo Raceway.

“We want the track to be as safe as practicable and in line with national standards,” the group says on its Facebook page.

“We are not advocating a return at any cost.”

CAPTION: A flag marshall sits upon the now-troublesome retaining wall.



CAPTION: The grandstand at Barbagallo. It’s not seeing much traffic from motorcyclists lately, and might not see much any time soon.

READ more about the Keysbrook motorsport facility proposal, here.

READ the report which stopped the bikes, here.

READ more about this weekend’s ‘We Need Our Track Backrallyhere.

READ some of the Barbagallo bike ban history, here.

VISIT our Facebook page, here.

Looking for a new ride? See our Bikes For Sale page, here.


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Peter Terlick

2 thoughts on “Action aplenty at Barbagallo Raceway — but immovable objects may thwart any return to racing

  1. Not sure where you got the picture of the grandstand…but that is not barbagallo… your article, whilst mostly factual is quite pessimistic. Laying hopes on a track ( keysbrook) which has not even reached FID let alone approval seems a stretch also.

    1. Thanks Graeme. The grandstand was indeed at Barbagallo; I took the photo myself on 30 April, 2016. My article is neither optimistic nor pessimistic. It simply makes the point that there is no certainty that the problems at Barbs will be resolved. They might not. Keysbrook is a long way out, I agree. Cheers.

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