ADELAIDE STREET CIRCUIT SAVED

The Senna Chicane during the 1999 Adelaide 500. Pic: an1images.com

THE permanent section of the Adelaide Parklands Circuit in Victoria Park will not be torn up and could in fact become heritage listed.

They were the key outcomes from an Adelaide City Council meeting on Tuesday night discussing the future of Victoria Park, following three days of heated public debate.

Adelaide’s Parklands Circuit hosted the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 1985-1995 and the Adelaide 500 Supercars event from 1999 to 2020.

Our celebration of the Adelaide 500’s heritage, Sensational Adelaide: An Illustrated History of the Adelaide 500, is available now in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop.

The Advertiser reported on Sunday that Councillor Greg Mackie was supporting a push by a residents’ group to remove the tarmac and other hard surfaces in the park due to them acting as a “heat sink”.

However, Cr Mackie told the meeting his intentions had been misinterpreted and that his primary aim was to increase the number of trees in the park.

Cr Mackie reportedly worked with fellow Councillor Alexander Hyde on last-minute amendments to the motion before the meeting.

“It became very apparent to anyone who was following mainstream media and social media that my intent with my motion was very, very quickly misinterpreted in some parts of the media,” Cr Mackie told the meeting.

“I’m grateful to Councillor Hyde for appreciating the actual intent, which was never to explicitly rip up the race track.

“It’s actually about enhancing canopy to improve public amenity, particularly in these very, very hot days.”

Councillors ultimately voted that an intent to improve the park’s canopy should be included in a new community land management plan.

They also voted that a separate report be prepared regarding the potential to heritage list the Victoria Park section of the circuit, in particular the Senna Chicane.

The chicane acted as an iconic first series of bends for the circuit and was named after Ayrton Senna following his death in 1994; commemorated by a small trackside plaque.

“We all know that it was the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix that put Adelaide on the global map in many senses,” Cr Hyde told the meeting in regard to a possible heritage listing.

“It’s of immense cultural significance to the people of Adelaide and the people of South Australia generally.”

Mark Skaife during the 2003 Adelaide 500. Pic: an1images.com

Cr Hyde also noted that ambitions exists to return motorsport to Victoria Park, albeit in a different form.

Reports continue to circle of a push to bring Formula E to Adelaide, while leaving the current track allows hope that an exhibition event like the Adelaide Motorsport Festival could one day return.

“In engaging with the community including people who are in the motorsport industry and recreation groups that use the park, it’s clear that we need to be mindful of the changes and bring them along the journey as well,” he said.

“There are ambitions within the community for some sort of racing, to a lesser extent, coming back, something that uses just the short track, something that’s quite unintrusive; certainly not the very dystopian concrete and tyres for months on end that we unfortunately became used to seeing around Victoria Park.

“I think this sends a message to the community that this track is here to stay, and we acknowledge that it’s an important part of our heritage and our history.”

How a heritage listing would impact the ability for the location to be used for future motorsport events is currently unclear.

The Adelaide 500 was permanently axed by current South Australian Premier Steven Marshall last year, although Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas has vowed to bring it back should he win power.