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Should motorcycles return to Bathurst?

Bathurst motorcycle races a step closer Mt Panorama

Wouldn’t it be great if motorcycles were racing at Bathurst this weekend and a free-to-air TV channel was broadcasting three days of live coverage like the Bathurst 1000?

We love the Great Race, but a return of motorcycles to the mountain could be as the famous as the Isle of Man TT.

That race has grown enormously in the past decade to become every motorcyclist’s must-do trip.

Bathurst Council has proposed a second circuit on the mountain that unfortunately doesn’t include the mountain.

The proposal has been around for a few years now. Council media spokeswoman Therese Ryan says they are still awaiting State and Federal Government and private funding.

“It will be a multi-purpose second circuit, not just a motorcycle circuit, with a business park. We’re still lobbying for funding at this point.”

Still, wouldn’t it be great if there were support motorcycle classes at this weekend’s Bathurst 1000?

Bathurst Mt Panorama motorcycles V8 Supercars
Go Lowndesy!

Motorcycle racing on the iconic mountain track finished in the late ’80s. Since then, the touring cars and now V8 Supercars have heavily modified the circuit. It is now at a stage where there could never be safe motorcycle racing there again.

Bathurst Mt Panorama motorcycles V8 Supercars
Gregg Hansford Kwaka he raced at Bathurst

However, the local council is confident their second track can attract state and federal funding and private interest. If so, they hope to create a world-class MotoGP and World Superbikes track to the east of the existing track in the camping ground and old drive-in area.

Proposal stalls

Committee member Rob “Stumpy” Taylor told me two years ago he was confident they would turn the first sod within a year.

Two years later, nothing has happened.

Bathurst Mt Panorama motorcycles V8 Supercars
Early Bathurst racing

While V8 Supercars continue to run street events such as the new Newcastle race, there is less impetus to create new race circuits.

Meanwhile, old circuits wither and die and become housing developments.

Let’s hope this new circuit gets appropriate funding.

  1. I remember the bikes at Bathurst back in the 80’s.. We know the track has changed… Can’t they race the same track? Race to the tracks conditions.

  2. No…. Motorcycle racing should never return to the Mt Panorama Circuit in it’s present form. The concrete wall required by the car make it impossible for riders to see around many corners on the circuit and were a major contributor to the double sidecar fatality in 1994?

    I was involved with a team that raced at the two Easter meetings in the mid 90’s along with the 12 hour car race. It was obvious that the circuit at that time was not safe for bike racing as there was very little run off for the riders, and the concrete walls around the circuit ensured bikes and riders returned to the track after and incident., In 1993 one rider, a NSW Paramedic actually stopped at the Dipper to help an injured rider who had collected the wall on riders right.

    Circuits that are surrounded by concrete, street circuits, etc are not suitable for motorcycle racing as there is no where for the riders to “escape to” in case of an accident. Sure build another circuit at Bathurst, but make it a bit rider friendly like Phillip Island, Donnington, Assen etc. not a concrete tunnel like the cars want to “enhance the public view”.

    1. Fair call, you answered my question… Though the other track, will it be in our lifetime? 🙂

  3. It would be most interesting to hear what the TT racers and the participants of events like Pikes peak would have say about such an event on the mountain.

    TT racers don’t seem to mind racing in an environment of stone walls, buildings, hump bridges, kerb and channel, and cliffs.
    Pikes peak racers seem to have no problem with rock walls on one side of the road and massive drop offs the other.

    But like both events it would have to a timed event, not a mass grid start.

  4. I raced a litre-bike there in 2000, and it was the best experience of my life, bar none. It saddens me that a generation of motorcycle racers will miss out on the opportunity to experience what I and others experienced.

    I recall only one injury; a broken leg from a tangle of two bikes going into the cutting. Otherwise there were very few offs. People rode to the conditions. It wasn’t long ago that Oran Park had a concrete wall leading onto the straight. It caused injuries, but the nanny state fun police didn’t close the track down.

  5. Bathurst was never safe for motorbikes but it never stopped people wanting to have a go. Bubble wrap world we’ve created shits me.

  6. Bring it on, I saw some great racing during my times at the “Mount” it was just like a religious experience without the “guilt” till the Powers to be thought that a police station on the hill was a great idea (well we all know what happened).Even as a kid in Cowra watching the bikes flow through town on there way to the Mount in the 50,60’s. No helmets ether.
    Please bring it on.
    Even to start with just local club racing to feel the waters.
    i will bring out my 500 cc vertical twin Ducati, my 900SS and my darling the 996 2001 Ducati, if that fails I will put my 2003 Postie bike in for fun.

  7. Was a great motorcycle event to attend over the years but was extremely dangerous and still would be now. Phillip island has it all except needs better permanent spectator grandstands and cover…. would be money better spent I feel.

  8. It would be awesome to see bikes racing at Bathurst again. The fact is the current track isn’t suitable for bike crashes and lives would be lost.. We don’t want that.. and does anyone really believe that NSW govt will spend money on a new track at Bathurst… would there be return on investment.? Not likely I’m afraid.
    Racing to the track conditions is what racers do…but things go wrong sometimes..

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