DRAG racing enthusiasts have crashed into a bureaucratic brick wall in their quest to find a Warrnambool district base.
After more than four years of negotiations with Warrnambool City and Moyne Shire councils to use the former Koroit racecourse, the group now concedes progress has bogged down.
“We are almost back at square one again,” Warrnambool and District Drag Racing Association president Tony Frost told The Standard.
“Neither the city nor Moyne will commit to manage the site and have basically told us to explore other options.
“Our members are disappointed we weren’t told much earlier because we could have started looking for other venues earlier.
“It’s looking like Koroit will not go ahead because of all the red tape.”
The association has just found out a native title claimant will have to be found for the Crown land site north of Koroit and then an agreement secured to use the land subject to approval from the Department of Sustainability and Environment.
“We have appreciated council assistance in preparation of draft plans for a motor racing facility,” Mr Frost said.
He paid tribute to immediate past president Darryl Porter, who pushed the vision for years.
Drag races have been held on part of a runway at Warrnambool Airport on a permit basis for almost 20 years, but time is running short with a pending major upgrade of the facility.
Airport advisory committee chairman Stephen Lucas said there was no intention to force the association out, but the arrangement would have to cease when funding and approvals for the upgrade came through.
“I would hope that work could start in the next few years,” he said. The association decided this week to look for an alternative opportunity to share a site with either another sports group or a private landowner.
It has funds to start construction and is confident an A-grade track would draw thousands of fans and competitors from afar.
The track would be used for competition and training young drivers in an effort to reduce hooning and improve skills. Events planned for next season include races on November 25, January 20 and March 17, a swap meet at the Friendly Societies’ Park on October 20 and a car show on December 29 at Lake Pertobe.