Aussie TT Gathers Speed
An Australian version of the Isle of Man TT could take place on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in December 2017. But first it will have to endure protestors who are worried about fatalities and the event creating a race culture in the region.
The Sunshine Coast Tourist Trophy (SSC TT) has been proposed as a four-day time trial and is expected to attract top-class road racers and sanctioning from the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme).
Organisers predict about 16,500 spectators will attend the event, which will be divided into four classes of motorcycles and sidecars with 20 riders per class, making a total of 80 riders.
But not everyone is happy, despite predictions the event will inject $8.5 million into the local economy.
The Peaceful Roads Sunshine Coast protest group believes the TT will unfairly affect residents, cause deaths, injuries and encourage informal time trials at illegal speeds on public roads.
“We are already seeing such behaviour,” the group says on its Facebook page. “This will decrease safety for all hinterland road users.”
If the event goes ahead, riders will cover a 47km course in the Blackall Ranges south of Maleny, including Kilcoy-Beerwah Road, Maleny-Stanley River Rd, Mountain View Rd, Bald Knob Rd and the Landsborough-Maleny Rd.
Event chief executive officer David Rollins says it will be much safer than the Isle of Man TT and rejects the idea that motorcyclists will become anti-social.
“Ours will be safer for both riders and spectators – we’ll be using more technology in the race-control system for the competitors, linked to medical response, and the spectators, while close to the action, will, for the most part, be restricted to designated spectator zones.
“As for the so-called racing culture on Maleny’s roads – we don’t accept that. We think motorcyclists will pay the roads around Maleny more respect rather than less, because motorcyclists know that if they speed on those roads, they put the Sunshine Coast International TT at risk. And we all want it too much to just give it away with anti-social behaviour.”
The Sunshine Coast Council has begun an online poll to gauge community support for the event, which was first proposed in November. A decision is expected by mid-September.
In the meantime, the Sunshine Coast Tourist Trophy Facebook page has been flooded with support, with more than 6100 likes in just two weeks. As MT went to print, Rollins was in the US sourcing potential investors for the TT.
“We just have to keep working through the issues and building our support base and staying positive,” Rollins says.
“What drives us is the knowledge that this could be a real marquee event for Queensland, if not Australia and, if we succeed, Maleny will be the envy of every town on the east coast.”