THE motorsport community is mobilising around Sydney Speedway (Valvoline Raceway) after the shock announcement that the 40-year-old dirt oval is under the threat of compulsory acquisition by the NSW government.
A public rally is being planned for tonight at the Granville venue, with hundreds of people expected to attend.
Reports have emerged that the land, about 30 minutes west of the Sydney CBD, will be acquired by Sydney Metro as part of a billion-dollar rail corridor development between the city and the western suburbs.
The principals of the track, Barry and Felicity Waldron, received a phone call on Monday informing them of the decision. Almost 120 properties will be acquired to make way for the rail project, which is expected to be completed by 2030.
The Waldrons, who claim they have spent millions of dollars in renovations on the site, have a lease until June 2026. The couple says they received no correspondence prior to the phone call.
“This has come completely out of the blue,” an angry Felicity Waldron said. “In all our dealings with Crown Lands talking about extending the lease beyond 2026 and ensuring the longer-term future of the venue, never has anyone said anything to us about this. We are in complete shock.”
The track has played host to more than 800 race meetings over the past 40 years, and is the focal point of the summer Speedway season. Speedway superstars from around the world regularly race at the venue over the Christmas period.
The Waldrons claim that the impact that a development like this would have for the sport of Australian Speedway nationally and internationally would be harsh.
“This is devastating. Absolutely devastating,” said Barry Waldron. “I can’t believe that in all our dealings with the government through Crown Lands in our proposed long- term planning discussions nobody thought to give us even a hint that this could happen. How is it possible something as enormous as that could be overlooked?”
Metro Rail’s plans include the compulsory acquisition of 116 properties, including 23 residential and 93 commercial businesses. Information provided today reveals that a large stabling yard and operations centre for the single-deck, driverless metro trains will be built at the Clyde and Rosehill Industrial Estate, right on top of Valvoline Raceway.
The Waldrons have applied for a 30-year lease with Crown Lands, with negotiations and applications in train for two years. Information on that 30-year application was promised by Crown Lands by December this year.
“It’s so much more than what a politician would see if they came down here,” said an emotional Mr Waldron. “It’s not just sport for us; it’s a lifestyle. It’s what you grow up with. It’s about having a beer with your mates after the race even after you crash into each other. It’s about looking after someone’s kid while they go get a hot dog. It runs deep in us. We live and breathe this. It’s the core of who we are.”