Adelaide 500 noise, dirt and timing revs up council

Imported dirt for speedway racing on park lands, noise and extended set-up time are some of Adelaide City Council’s concerns about this year’s Adelaide 500.

Jun 05, 2024, updated Jun 05, 2024
The Adelaide 500 was rebooted by the Malinauskas Government in 2022.

The Adelaide 500 was rebooted by the Malinauskas Government in 2022.

This year’s Adelaide 500 race from November 14 to 17 is expected to take up 63,000 square metres more of the park lands than last year, and add a week to the months needed to set up and dismantle.

The SA Motor Sport Board presented the plans to the council’s City Community Services and Culture Committee last night.

It followed last week’s news that sprint cars requiring a dirt speedway would be added to the event, which the Lord Mayor said the council was unaware of before the announcement.

The committee is concerned that imported dirt for the temporary speedway would introduce dust, millipedes, and contaminants into the park lands, while Councillor Phillip Martin said it was a “significant threat” to park lands conservation zones.

“You need to clean your boots before you walk in, let alone bring in a truckload of dirt and so I think we need to approach this matter cautiously,” he said.

The council will request the event area exclude revegetation conservation zones and have a provisional conservation management plan to ensure they were protected from damage and contamination.

SA Motor Sport Board chief executive Mark Warren told the meeting that soil would be tested to ensure it was free of contamination before trucking it in.

Lomax-Smith recommended Kadaltilla, the Adelaide Park Lands Authority, give further advice as it oversaw conservation and habitat.

Kadaltilla said it wasn’t told about the dirt speedway track or need for extra space when it met with the Motor Sport Board last month, which Deputy Lord Mayor Keiran Snape called “disrespectful”.

The committee also wants a reduced time frame for hosting the event. The prescribed work for this year’s event will take place in stages between August 19 to January 26, 2025 – a week longer than last year.

Councillor Martin said he was not against the event but was concerned about the timeframe.

“Whether we like it or not there are many people that are fans of this fossil fuel consumption event,” Martin said.

Warren said the Motor Sport Board extended the timeframe because last year they “cut it too fine” dismantling buildings and infrastructure and had to factor in adverse weather.

When questioned by councillors about why it took so long to bump in and out the Adelaide 500 compared to the Melbourne Grand Prix, Warren said the major difference was the temporary pit building structure.

“It is the equivalent of a 20-story building laid on its side, it’s 12 weeks to build that, most other areas don’t take that long hence why it’s a staggered process,” he said.

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Crowds at the finish of the 2022 Adelaide 500. Photo: AAP/Matt Turner

Lomax-Smith said she realised there was a difference between the declared area and what was actually used and fenced off for the event.

The council will ask the Motor Sport Board to clarify the actual fenced area, so the community have a clearer idea of what’s accessible throughout the event period.

Warren said the declared area extended beyond event boundaries to give organisers the authority to act, such as engaging police over misbehaviour or any danger to patrons.

The Quentin Kenihan Inclusive Playspace in Rymill Park has been excluded from the event area this year and new Hutt Street restaurant Sofia will be included.

Speaking to CityMag last month, Sofia co-owner Joshua Baker said he is was a fan of motor racing and eager to be involved.

“I love V8 supercars series and I think that, you know, a lot of people hate it in this town, but I actually really love it and we just happen to sit on the inside of the track,” Baker said.

Councillor Janet Giles said she’s interested in Sofia’s involvement and how it will potentially improve pedestrian access to Hutt Street or impact neighbouring residents.

Noise concerns and disruption to active transport are also front of mind for the council.

Councillor David Elliott said last year residents were leaving the city to avoid the “constant three-day drone of supercars going around and around and around your house”.

For those who stay or work in the city, Elliott said he received numerous complaints from distressed cyclists who were late to work and confused about detours. He suggested marshals to assist people or better signage to prevent this from reoccurring.

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