Wakefield Park’s future is under threat due to tightening noise restrictions.
Owner of the New South Wales track, the Benalla Auto Club (BAC), will only be allowed to operate events with average noise levels up to 95dBA (known as Red Category) under strict conditions.
Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court, Timothy Horton, ruled there must be 11 “Respite Days” with no “motorsport activity” after every Red Category day.
Race meets of more than one day aren’t possible on the back of the ruling. Events are already being cancelled.
Eight days are required after every Amber (up to 85dBA) event, and four days are required after Green events.
The ruling also means driver training, recreational track days, and vehicle testing – which fall under the definition of “motorsport activity” – aren’t permitted in the Respite Days between events.
Residents in nearby towns have complained about noise from the race track since 2006, according to the court filing, with some homeowners arguing loud engines and screeching tyres are detrimental to their mental health.
Wakefield Park had been operating under event noise restrictions established in 1993, when the original consent to run a motorsports facility was handed down.
A recent application by the track owners to demolish the existing pit lane building and garages, and build a new two-storey pit lane building and off-road experience area, has opened the door for the introduction of new restrictions.
It’s not clear whether the track owners or operators will challenge the decision.