Tetley: Queensland Raceways sale still part of succession plan

Queensland Raceways

Queensland Raceway and Lakeside Park operator John Tetley has reaffirmed the sale of his business is still part of his long-term succession plan.

In early May it emerged a deal was in the works that would see businessman Tony Quinn take over Queensland Raceways, which operates the two circuits.

Late last month Quinn told Speedcafe.com he had “better than a handshake” agreement with Tetley to take hold of the facilities.

However, that deal fell over just days out from the proposed July 1 sign-off, with Tetley believed to have had a change of heart and pulled out.

Speedcafe.com can reveal Tetley and Quinn made efforts to renegotiate in the week that followed.

It is believed renegotiations almost came to fruition, before Quinn walked away in the second instance due to difficulties in the process.

It is understood he has already set his sights on a new venture.

In the wake of the latest developments, Speedcafe.com again sought a response from Tetley.

In an email to Speedcafe.com, Tetley claimed he did not change his mind at the last minute and that the deal was fundamentally flawed.

Tetley maintained a future deal is not off the cards.

It is believed Quinn has no immediate plans to restart talks given the 10-year-long period in which he tried to acquire the circuits.

“It would seem a lot of people are getting exercise by leaping to conclusions,” Tetley told Speedcafe.com.

“Firstly, I did not change my mind – that deal was never finalised because it had flaws from the start that only became more obvious as we proceeded with the diligence process.

“The fact that that deal fell over is no reason to assume there won’t be another deal in the future because that is the succession plan.

“FYI we get at least one approach a year for one or both of the venues, but you never get to hear about them, and it will stay that way.”

Last week Tetley made a statement committing to upgrading facilities at Queensland Raceway and Lakeside Park.

Tetley would not say what upgrades are in the pipeline when asked by Speedcafe.com, but affirmed his commitment to operating two accessible circuits for entry-level motorsport.

The circuit is currently a stronghold for AASA- and RACERS-sanctioned events.

“Frankly, I am proud that in South East Queensland we have reopened facilities out of the monies our customers paid us over the last 20 years for providing them with the grassroots recreational activities they want, at a price they can afford in a place they feel comfortable,” he said.

“The people who actually come to our tracks and keep grassroots growing do not need to show off at swank places with prices they cannot afford. Nor should they have to rely on the largesse of the wealthy or handouts from governments.”

Tetley also expressed his disappointment in present and past State and Federal governments for not supporting permanent circuits.

He noted the year-on-year cost to build street circuits such as those in Townsville and on the Gold Coast as having little benefit to motorsport.

He believes that money should be spent on existing circuits or building new facilities that the motorsport community can utilise.

“If the people who show their support for us by spending their money at our race tracks want affordable three-star facilities; then who am I to insist they pay through the nose so I can all prance around my elitist five-star facilities? I’m here for the workers – not the wealthy,” Tetley said.

“I also want to make the point that the State Government has not put one cent into Queensland Raceway or Lakeside in all the years since they were re-opened by me AT MY OWN COST.

“Look at it – Ipswich City Council got a multi-million dollar facility built on land it didn’t pay for, at NO cost to its ratepayers which brings in millions of dollars a year to the local community. I think that should deserve some support.

“Compare that to any other race track in Australia e.g. NSW government spending $22,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money to put light into SMSP. Recently the Qld government provided $2,900,000 to the drag strip at Warwick whilst our proposal to build a Motorsport Museum at Lakeside, a long held desire of mine, with some joint funding, didn’t even get a look in.

“Is the money there? Well, just look at the money being spent at the Gold Coast and Townsville each year – could they build at least one premier five-star race track in Queensland with that amount of money?

“What really burns me up is that the combined governments of Australia over the years have wasted about $300,000,000 on street circuits. Just imagine what that money could have built if CAMS had forced them to spend, even half of it, on permanent circuits.

“Instead they support the building and tearing down of these tracks after a few days usage per year.

“There is nothing left after all that expense to build a track that no member of the grassroots motorsport community; the people who really make motorsport in Australia, has the opportunity to use. Is that fair? And then what happens after a few years in most cases? It gets turned into scrap and dumped – of no further benefit to the motorsport community at all.”

Queensland Raceway last hosted a Supercars Championship round in 2019, and continues to act as the test track for teams including Triple Eight Race Engineering, Dick Johnson Racing and Matt Stone Racing.

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