This weekend marks the last race ever to be held at Oran Park Raceway, a fantastic little race track near Sydney, featuring a unique figure of eight layout, the only one in Australia. Apart from being famous for assorted events like the V8 Supercars, it's actually a great track.
Much like my local circuit, Knockhill, it's short and fast, where the devil is in the details - everyone goes round fast, but only the skilled go faster. I've watched countless races there on TV, (V8s and bikes both) and I'm terribly saddened to see it go.
It's being turned into more housing, as all racing circuits seem to be these days. Motor racing is in bad shape - the housing juggernaut wants land, and circuits are just huge tasty targets. Couple that with public outcry about noise pollution and it's hard to get a word in edgeways now that it's cool to be 'eco-conscious'. The UK alone has lost 25 tracks in the last 10 years...
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj7FQD0KQD8]YouTube - Mark Skaife - Pole Lap, '04 Oran Park[/VIDEO]
What??!!! That's absolutely tragic.
Here in the US, we didn't get to see much of that circuit in action until Speedvision (now Speed TV) began to show the ATCC recap shows during the winter months in the mid to late 90's. The overpass was one of the unique features that I'll always remember about it. Especially because other than Suzuka, it was the only proper circuit I've ever seen that had one. That, and one year we got to see an absolutely colossal shunt at the esses before the final corner.
What a great little circuit. Such a shame some of those great corners are going to be turned into someone's backyard or driveway.