CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca has taken his own tour of Australia’s newest motor sports facility, The Bend Motorsport Park.
Together with Dr Sam Shahin, the man behind the project, and Bruce Keys, CAMS Manager – Track Safety, Arocca toured the facility last Thursday, ahead of the upcoming Shannons Nationals season opener in April – the first national motor sport event that will be hosted at the facility.
CAMS has been a supporter of the project since it was first mooted, including securing FIA approval for the venue and working with the South Australian government to locate an appropriate site and design.
“CAMS has been an amazing organisation to deal with. They have provided guidance and support from day one,” Shahin said.
“They believed in the vision for The Bend from day one and I can honestly say that the development would not have come to fruition without their input.”
With elements of the circuit coming to life such as pit buildings and the laying of tarmac, Dr Shahin is proud to see the project nearing its completion.
“I am the proudest man in Australia, albeit the most anxious all at the same time,” Shahin said.
“We have performed the occasional miracle constructing the circuit and pit complex in under 12 months and it looks amazing. There are still 350 construction workers on site right now working furiously to complete the pit building and the massive infrastructure supporting it.
“The summer has been harsh though, hot and windy December was followed with an even hotter January as we’ve experienced across Australia and that has prevented us from manicuring the site… we need a solid winter under our belt to present to the world the final proud product.
“I hope the motor sport world will be both patient and forgiving of the dry nature of the terrain when they visit soon.”
Arocca said he had been “blown away” by the setup of the venue.
“Sam took me for a drive on the completed circuit and I must say even at 80kmh, it was absolutely sensational,” Arocca said.
“The various configurations of the circuit will make the Bend an iconic track that competitors of all levels will gravitate to.”
Arocca added that the Shahin’s involvement in The Bend will go down in Australian motor sport history as a significant milestone.
“While there have been many people involved, it is Sam and his brothers who deserve all the accolades for building something that will change the landscape of Australian motor sport,” Arocca added.
“It’s also a huge thrill for the Shannons Nationals to be making history as the first motor sport event at the venue – we can’t wait for the first cars to hit the track on 13 April.”
While there is plenty of anticipation for The Bend, Dr Shahin believes the facility will further enhance Australia’s reputation for motor sport nationally.
“My vision is clear. I want every motor sport participant in Australia to shout out loud at any other facility anywhere in the world and say ‘we have as good a facility as anywhere on the planet’,” Shahin said.
“I want every enthusiast or participant to feel that they have a home in Australia at The Bend where they can play, or compete, in a safe and enjoyable environment, and go home every time with a smile on their face.
“We want to bring the best events in the world to Australia. I’d love those events to come to The Bend of course but if not, I would love to be in any way part of growing and promoting motor sport in Australia for the wider enjoyment of all, irrespective of which city one lives.
“Growing motor sport anywhere in Australia will help motor sport everywhere in Australia.”