The Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) is the controlling body of the sport of drag racing in Australia, delegated by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
After six years without ANDRA Drag Racing opportunities in Melbourne, ANDRA determined the need and with some help commenced action in 2006 to secure a world class, Government funded drag racing venue in the city, using the model that proved successful for the sport in Sydney and Perth.
The Victorian Government has accepted that Melbourne does need an ANDRA Championship Drag Racing venue and that they will need to fund a solution. Early in negotiations they expressed a preference for a multi use venue and after consultation with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) this year designs were developed to include a motor racing circuit in the ANDRA Melbourne project.
Over the past year other Victorian venues running independently through the last decade have seen the opportunity, or been invited to present alternatives and source potential funding. The Victorian Government is exploring options.
ANDRA has no doubt that the best solution for drag racing and other motor sports is the ANDRA Melbourne venue proposal.
* “once off” construction funding to build the venue.
* venue owned by the Government in perpetuity.
* ANDRA will lease the venue long term.
* ANDRA will fund venue operations.
* ANDRA will fund all maintenance.
* proven low risk model for Government as done in Western Australia and New South Wales.
* guarantees the long term accessibility required for sustainable motor sport operation and development.
The Victorian Government is considering an upgrade to the existing Calder Park venue, conditional upon a return of ANDRA and CAMS activities. Following a meeting between ANDRA and owner Bob Jane during August, ANDRA raised a number of points in writing requiring clarification before the next steps could be taken.
Those points included;
* Documents covering noise limits at the venue state “Except for the use of jet powered vehicles, nitro burning vehicles, Formula One cars, and concerts, noise levels emitted at any event conducted on the site, must not exceed the levels set out opposite each location in Table 1.” These range between 60 and 75db at the nearest residential boundary, depending on time of day and wind direction. That may exclude a number of ANDRA supercharged categories.
* Major upgrades, including re-alignment and possible extension of the braking distance and installation of continuous barriers, are required for the drag strip to accommodate full quarter mile competition at all ANDRA Championship levels.
* Staging lanes are currently located immediately adjacent to the primary safety barriers and greater separation is required. This is primarily an organisational issue.
* Proposed frequency of ANDRA Drag Racing events.
* Proposed prize money levels.
After a brief response on one point Calder Park requested ANDRA not to communicate further unless certain demands were met.
Calder Park has chosen not to run ANDRA Drag Racing for nearly a decade, despite being home to ANDRA’s premier event, the Australian Nationals, through the nineties. The venue has a history of conflict with sanctioning bodies and other organisations.
HEATHCOTE PARK RACEWAY
Heathcote Park Raceway (HPR) is also seeking funding and ANDRA opened discussions with HPR regarding funded upgrades to the venue as part of the ANDRA Melbourne Drag Racing project. In the short term this would provide options for ANDRA Championship Drag Racing in Victoria and later, deliver a strong regional venue at reasonable cost, which would benefit from the increased activity generated by the new ANDRA Melbourne venue.
HPR is not a sustainable solution for Melbourne due to its distance from the city. The venue has operated outside the ANDRA system for many years and has not confirmed any commitment to change that.
To conclude, the ANDRA Drag Racing venue concept, expanded to a multi-use motor sport complex, will offer the best solution to Melbourne.
ANDRA is and has always been committed to encourage and assist any organiser in the progressive promotion of ANDRA Drag Racing. This is one of the principle objectives of the Association.
In the absence of opportunities to do that in Melbourne between 2001 and 2006, in light of unsuccessful attempts to reach agreement with existing organisers through that period and in the interests of the sport and its members in Victoria and nationally, ANDRA took the initiative.
The ANDRA target remains the delivery of a reliable and sustainable drag racing venue to Melbourne.