The Australian motorcycle Grand Prix has been run at Victoria’s Phillip Island since 1989, not including the six years it was held at Sydney’s Eastern Creek (1991-96). The famous motor racing venue was once located on public roads but in the modern era of Grand Prix racing ‘The Island’ is now a dedicated raceway. The 2018 event – part of the MotoGP World Title – took place from October 26-28 and attracted more than 90,000 spectators.
Given the number of spectators at the outdoor event, and its spread-out format which included camping grounds, the promoters required a lot of temporary infrastructure such as portable buildings, traffic management equipment and lighting towers. The event also needed generators to provide power to the organisers, the race teams and the campers, as well as compressors and compressor lines for the race teams. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation – which promotes the event – also had to upgrade the circuit so it complied with the international racing body’s regulations regarding track build and safety features, including line marking and Type A and Type C protection barriers.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s Division Manager – Infrastructure, Matthew Walton, says the corporation had five weeks to set up the temporary infrastructure required to run the event, and the contractors had to be experienced and have good management support.
“We physically take possession of the circuit on the Saturday prior to the event, and the first day open to the public is the practice day, on the Friday,” says Walton. “But we rely on contractors such as Coates Hire to supply the equipment and synchronise with a very strict set-up timetable, for weeks before we arrive.” Walton says the AGP Corporation hires generators, lighting towers and temporary buildings from Coates Hire, and has been relying on Australia’s largest equipment hire company since 1998.
“It’s a busy site and everything is tightly managed,” says Walton. “We contract organisations such as Coates Hire, not only for the quality and reliability of the assets, but because they have professional management and logistics systems.”
Coates Hire Major Projects Manager - Events, Dale Pitt, says the motorcycle Grand Prix promoter has had a long-standing equipment-hire relationship with Coates Hire.
“A motor racing event of this size and sophistication needs a lot of equipment of a very high quality, managed and serviced by people the organisers can rely upon.”
Pitt says Coates Hire supplies buildings, generators and lights to the AGP Corporation, and also supplies traffic management equipment and work platforms, plus equipment to other motorcycle Grand Prix contractors. “We supplied 25 light towers, for the night works in the pit paddock, the public car parks and for the camping grounds,” says Pitt. “We supplied four 400 cfm compressors to the pit paddock and the pit lane air lines. These are needed by teams and tyre suppliers.”
Pitt says major motor racing events can’t be let down by equipment break-downs or power failures and Coates Hire ran a crew of seven people during the race weekend, including mechanics, electricians and managers. He says the Grand Prix required over 100 truck movements for the set-up and the same for the two and-a-half week dismantling. The contract was supplied from Coates Hire’s Brooklyn Portables and Dandenong Light and Power branches.
Matthew Walton says while a motorcycle Grand Prix is an exciting and glamorous event, the basics have to be reliable. For instance, the race cannot be hampered by a power failure meaning the generators have to be reliable and serviced.
“We rely on organisations like Coates Hire to ensure that the infrastructure we need is always on standby and ready to go. The motorcycle Grand Prix would not be possible without them.”
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