Adelaide 500 shelves campground plans

2023 Adelaide 500 RV park camping

The 2023 Adelaide 500 could have hosted camping/campervans under a now shelved idea from organisers. Image: Supplied

Organisers of the Vailo Adelaide 500 have shelved plans for an ‘RV park’ which had caused controversy at local council level.

The event is promoted by the South Australian Motor Sport Board and it had, according to the City of Adelaide council, sought access to an extra 16,000 square metres of Rymill Park, which is located between the Supercars layout and the Formula 1 race track route of old, for this year’s event.

The proposal was for up to 150 motorhomes to set up camp during the event, but has now been dropped, at least for 2023.

“The South Australian Motor Sport Board is always looking at new ways to provide unique experiences for fans,” began a brief statement, entitled ‘RV park’, issued to media on behalf of Adelaide 500 organisers.


“This idea was in the early feasibility stage, however it is not proceeding for this year’s event considering the short lead time.”

Axed in 2020 before being revived last year by the new state government, the Adelaide 500 is the only Supercars event to have been inducted into the championship’s Hall of Fame.

But for the Australian Grand Prix, where Supercars is a support category, it is the best-attended event on the calendar and, notwithstanding the iconic status which the Bathurst 1000 boasts, is regarded by many as setting the standard with respect to ‘big event’ feel.

In adding camping, Adelaide would have joined the Bathurst 1000 and The Bend SuperSprint, which is held about 100km southeast of the South Australian capital, in having such an offering.

The initiative would, however, have been unusual for an inner-city street circuit and the idea met with stiff opposition from council.

It explained via a statement, “Under the South Australian Motorsport Act, the City of Adelaide has no power to stop the organisers of the Adelaide 500 from taking over the Park Lands to run the event.”

It added, “However, the Council is staggered they want to use a pristine part of the eastern Park Lands as a trailer park.”

Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith remarked via said statement, “I was utterly shocked and appalled to only learn … that the Adelaide 500 wants to put 150 camper vans on the Park Lands.

“This is a completely inappropriate use of this space and sets a dangerous precedent that undermines the integrity of our natural Park Lands.

“I have many unanswered questions surrounding the issue of sewage disposal and the likelihood of camp fires and barbeques.”

Cr Lomax-Smith went on to liken Adelaide’s inner city parklands to those of New York’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park, and declared that they “should regarded as sacrosanct.”

It is hardly the first time that the Adelaide 500 has caused controversy among councillors of the local government area in which it is held.

During the event’s period of exile, there was a proposal to remove a number of the bitumen and/or concrete surfaces which had been used to hold Formula 1 and subsequently Supercars racing, which was staved off when a heritage listing proposal was narrowly voted for.

Among those to dissent were then-councillor Anne Moran, who said at the time, “I would prefer to rip out the racing car track and all remnants of other cement features that are still there.

“In doing so, I would like the permanently remove the danger of bringing [back] motorsports of the kind we have seen, excusing perhaps electrics cars, of the tired barriers, the petrol fumes… we pussyfoot around it a little bit.”

The 2023 Adelaide 500 will be held on November 23-26, while the 2024 Supercars calendar remains a work in progress.

A soft target for release at last weekend’s Bathurst 1000 came and went without any further announcements on next year’s events, of which only Taupo has a confirmed date.

As reported previously by Speedcafe, a deadlock over the Newcastle 500 is the key impediment to finalising the calendar, with Supercars caught in the middle of a political stoush involving a supporting state government and resistance/reluctance from councillors who face local government elections in just under 12 months’ time.

Speedcafe understands that combining Supercars with the Bathurst 12 Hour has been floated as a back-up plan, notwithstanding several logistical challenges.

Last weekend’s Bathurst 1000, like the Adelaide 500 invariably does, topped an aggregate crowd of 200,000 over the four days, and was the third-highest attended event in its history.

The penultimate event of the 2023 season is the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 on October 27-29.

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