Tuesday, 14 February 2017 08:18

For more than three months the racing track at the former RAC Driving Centre at Perth's International Airport has been silent.

In October last year the facility shut its doors after twelve years of operation, scuttled by noise complaints from local residents.

Now there's a chance the facility, known as DTEC, could re-open - but with motorsport taken out of the equation.

"The centre will be reborn as a not for profit enterprise concerned solely with driver training in both cars and motorbikes. For school students, members of the public and emergency services," said Jeff Ash who has been leading a community push to re-open DTEC.

The facility's racetrack and off road areas were used to train thousands of amateur drivers in everything from racing techniques to recovering from spins, with emergency services also using the track to train for emergency situations.

So far Mr Ash has had little luck persuading the RAC or the airport to let the centre operate again as it once was.

But he's hoping that by stopping any motorsport activities there and emphasising driver training, education and charity events, the centre can find a new lease of life that fits with local desires and community needs.

"This means that the venue will be also be available for cycling, national car club meets and charity events. It also means that everyone can individually support the centre and its work by becoming a member.

"We are still working on the finer points of the membership scheme but it will entail a yearly fee that entitles you to a certain number of training sessions per year."

Mr Ash has sent a submission to the airport outlining the not for profit model of operation, and says removing motorsport could eliminate any noise issues while still allowing a valuable community service to operate.

"There are charity days like one run by Rotary where they show young drivers the consequences of dangerous driving. That could be run again at the centre. There is so much we can do there and make a contribution."

With the closure of DTEC, only Barbagallo Raceway is available for motorsport enthusiasts in Perth - though the track is presently closed to motorcycling events after the death of rider Chris Adley in November 2016.

The 'Save The RAC Driving Training and Education Centre' Facebook group has more than seven thousand members, and Mr Ash there is a groundswell of community support for a facility like DTEC that supports driving events for safety and charity.

But if this not for profit model of operation is rejected, Mr Ash concedes there's a dwindling chance that the facility will be resurrected in any form.

"This has great value for the community. Emergency services can do their training there again, police pursuit and things like that. We can make it work if we get the chance."

Source: 1 February 2017, www.watoday.com.au 

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