Sydney to Finally Quench V8 Thirst

It has been a year since we said goodbye to Oran Park, and what a long year it has been. We have sat through every other city’s V8 event waiting and waiting for our turn to arrive. But at long last the Sydney 500 has arrived and the V8 fans of Sydney finally get a taste of the 2009 action.

The Homebush Street race may be shaping up to be one of the biggest events on not only the V8 Calender, but the national sporting calender. First class Aussie bands and artists have been brought in to perform and from there the 3 day carnival has been promoted to death. Honestly, I have never seen a V8 weekend advertised as much as Homebush, except for maybe Indy.

Great entertainment on and off the track is guaranteed for a great value ticket price. Whincup will be crowned as the 2009 champion, while every other driver goes nuts trying to claim the first ever victories at the circuit and also the final races of the season. The track is set to be packed out. What could one possibly worry about?

See this is where things get frustrating for the dead set motor sport fans of Sydney. Real fans would much prefer to go to watch the V8s at our wasted Eastern Creek Raceway or our lost Oran Park. These are proper tracks, where you can see a lot of the circuit from most vantage points. The day becomes a picnic, you set up your spot and enjoy the day at the races. Street circuits are completely different. You may see the cars fly down the straight, then they disappear out of sight. At some points you may only see them come around a corner, then they are gone around another. You end up spending a lot of the time watching the big screen, if you are lucky enough to be positioned near one, to know what is happening in the race, what is going on at other parts of the circuit. There are no hills to sit on and spread yourself out, its either all concrete and/or too packed with people. To get a grandstand spot you have to pay a packet for.

Therefore these rounds attract more of the people who go for the party, and don’t care too much for the racing. It is not ideal for the hard core racing fan.

But all this stuff wouldn’t normally bother me, it is part and parcel of a street race event. We had our two rounds at our much loved permanent tracks, which I always looked forward too, and if I went to Indy I would enjoy the different environment.

Now we don’t have those other two rounds. Thanks to the short sightedness of V8SCA a street race is all we have. Obviously not much could be done about losing Oran Park. But we have a world class facility at Eastern Creek that is not used, simply because two organisations don’t get along too well. The fact is that the V8 fans of Sydney love going out to watch them go round at Eastern Creek. But unfortunately Tony Cochrane and his colleagues have killed it off.

This article caught my attention today.

“When he announced last week that nearly 140,000 tickets had been presold for Olympic Park, he pointed out that was about three times the usual attendance at Eastern Creek. ‘Eastern Creek was unfortunately originally built as a bike track,’ Cochrane said. ‘It’s not a very popular track for motor racing fans.'”

Wrong Cochrane, wrong. You think motor racing fans would prefer to watch at a street circuit? You have deliberately killed off Eastern Creek, you held it on abnormal dates, long weekends, Monday public holidays and didn’t advertise to a single household. The rounds slipped by without a lot of people realising. Before you started doing this, when it was promoted properly, the Eastern Creek weekend was hugely popular, it got packed. Geoff Arnold is pretty much 100% spot on with his comments. Unfortunately what you don’t see that you are doing, Mr Cochrane, is that you are slowly decaying interest in V8s amongst Sydney siders. My interest this year was at an all time low and I put some of the blame on the fact that I haven’t had Eastern Creek or Oran Park to look forward to.

Next year we start with 2 rounds in the Middle East. Good one genius I’m sure the waves of heat and their tumbleweed mates will really enjoy the spectacle. Meanwhile back in Sydney, the fans forget for another year and interest wavers even more, with nothing to grab the imagination of fans.

I can’t wait for Sunday, when we head out to Homebush for the first ever Sydney street race. It will be a great day I’m sure. But it will never match the excitement of heading off early in the morning to get a spot on the fence at Eastern Creek. And as for reigniting my enthusiasm for V8 Supercars? Well I’ll have to wait and see.

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