By JOHN HALL
BASKERVILLE, the raceway that enticed Peter Brock, Alan Moffatt and other car racing legends to compete in Tasmania, has flagged a major upgrade to ensure its future.
The longest continually run motorsport racetrack in Australia will receive a $600,000 upgrade under a funding commitment by the recently-formed Baskerville Foundation.
The 2km racetrack in Brighton municipality was officially opened in 1958. Prior to that motorsports events were conducted on unused Second World War airstrips in Tasmania and on a public road circuit around Longford.
Announcing the upgrade at a recent meeting of Brighton Council, the Baskerville Foundation said the major work to be done is track resurfacing.
But before this can be undertaken, drainage on the site has to be improved to prevent excess water pooling on the track, which has damaged the track base.
The Foundation stated: “The track has a number of cracks and potholes on its surface and over the years it has undergone many patch-up repairs. It is now at a stage where it needs to be completely resurfaced.”
The estimated cost of remedial site drainage, to be completed in early 2014, is $30,000.
Plans are being drawn up to upgrade the control tower over the next 12 months at an estimated cost of $80,000.
The Foundation will also seal the entrance road at a cost of $40,000.
The major work in the four-year Baskerville upgrade is re-sealing the racetrack, which will be completed by December 2017 at a cost of $450,000.
The Baskerville Foundation is a sub-committee of the Hobart Sporting Car Club, which is a major shareholder of Motorsports Tasmania.
Currently Motorsports Tasmania finances are bolstered by the V8 Supercar Round at Symmons Plains in the north of the state.
The Foundation was set up last year to help secure the future of the Baskerville Raceway and has already raised $115,000 towards the $600,000 upgrade.
Peter Killick, chairman of the Foundation, said Baskerville is an iconic venue for car enthusiasts.
“We’re getting more recognition from across Bass Strait, with 15 mainland competitors for the upcoming Historics, one of the major events of the Tasmanian motorsports calendar, which showcases historic cars. This is the centrepiece for our fund-raising.
“Baskerville is a hidden gem. When mainlanders come to compete for the first time they can’t believe it – most tracks are flat and boring. Not Baskerville!”
Mayor Tony Foster, who was at the council meeting, when the Baskerville Foundation presentation was made, recalled: “I attended race meetings at Baskerville as a youngster in the early 1960s. It was ‘the thing’ for people in Hobart to do.
“Baskerville and Symmons Plains used to compete. Now they’re run by the same organisation and they complement each other.
“Baskerville is on a very sound footing and the Foundation’s plans are exciting.”
The Baskerville schedule for 2014 includes 16 car racing events, the major meeting being the Historics in October.
In the past six months Baskerville has been hired to two car manufacturers for national car launches.
Baskerville, through its Motorsafe program, hosts driver education programs for 800 people each year.