Sunshine Coast TT to attract world’s best

Isle of Man

Top-class international motorcycle road racers are expected to take part in an inaugural Sunshine Coast Tourist Trophy (SSC TT) in December 2017.

SSC TT promoter David Rollins says the planned event would be similar to the famous Isle of Man TT (IOM TT) and sanctioned by FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, the world motorcycle sport governing body).

SSC TT David Rollins
David with his Ducati 1199 Panigale TriColore

“This is an event for top world-class road races. It’s not for “Johnny-come-latelies”, he says.

The SSC TT boss and advertising and communications expert responsible for the Mr Motocross series says he is assembling a team of skilled professionals to run the TT with world’s best practices in event management.

Today he and Sunshine Coast Councillors addressed two meetings where the 610 local residents and business people directly affected by road closures were invited.

David proposes the SSC TT runs over a 47km course in the Blackall Ranges south of Maleny taking in popular motorcycle roads such as Mountain View Rd, Maleny-Stanley River Rd, Kilcoy-Beerwah RD, Bald Knob Rd and the Lanesborough-Maleny Rd. The full details of the course and viewing areas have not yet been finalised, but it will start and finish in front of Maleny State High School in Bunya St with a large grandstand opposite.

Sunshine Coast International TT route
Click here for a more detailed map

“To see motorcycles going flat-out around the course will be a spectacular thing to watch,” David says.

Local councillor Greg Rogerson says the route is “a drawcard for motorcycle enthusiasts across the country”.

“They are beautiful motorcycling roads,” he says.

Beautiful views of the Glasshouse Mountains from Bald Knob Rd SSC TT
Beautiful views of the Glasshouse Mountains from Bald Knob Rd

The four-day SSC TT event would consist of untimed practice, timed practice, qualifying and race day with racing in four classes limited to 20 riders each.

The classes, in consultation with Motorcycling Australia, are expected to be senior TT open racing, sidecar F1, BEARS F1 and possibly open production or superstock 600.

Unlike the free-for-all IOM TT, spectators would be limited to six official viewing areas for safety, with full amenities, big screens, security fencing and seating available.

“We’re trying to make this as attractive as possible for spectators.”

David says the council has been very supportive.

“The council have been fantastic. They are progressive and they understand how important tourism is to the wealth of the region and are concerned about how to make things work. It seems to have captured their imagination.”

He says the initial response from locals at the meetings today have been mixed.

Maleny attracts a lot of weekend riders SSC TT
Maleny attracts a lot of weekend riders

“The reaction was split fairly evenly down the middle,” he says. “This is the toughest audience we will have because they are directly affected, but there were enough signs that were promising.”

He says more than 150 attended the first meeting including some of whom had “individual specific concerns”.

SSC TT David Rollins
Maleny TT meeting

“All issues are manageable. We can and will address all issues because we want to be in it for the long haul. There were enough people there who really want this to go ahead because they are more about Maleny than themselves.”

The Ducati-tragic from Sydney says he is a passionate rider and a  former motoring journalist with magazines such as Revs, Wheels and Sportscar World.

SSC TT David Rollins
David shows his riding style

“I was hunting around for roads to stage the event and was looking at doing this in NSW but I was stymied at the last minute by tourism bureaucrats,” he says.

“So I looked for alternatives. Friends said you have to come and have a look at these roads.

“They are amazing. So I thought we’d give it a shot here.”

The SSC TT plan follows the Lions Road TT event on the Queensland/NSW border in 2014 and 2015.

Lions TT
Riders in the inaugural Lions TT

However, the Lions TT was never a race, only untimed rides over a closed section of the Lions Rd. The rides were cancelled after crashes on the second day in the inaugural year and axed from the schedule last year.

There is no word yet from organisers about a 2016 Lions TT and Kyogle Council executive manager Graham Kennett says they are still awaiting an event plan.

David says his concept will be much more professional than the Lions TT.

“I didn’t think much of the Lions TT concept. It seemed contradictory to have a time trial but adhering to the speed limits. If you are going to do an event like this you have to have all bases covered.”

He says the SSC TT will employ world’s best practices in event management and hold meetings with all stakeholders including police, ambulance, rural fire brigade, Main Roads, Queensland Tourism, and even state forests officials.

The SSC TT will be funded by the sale of tickets and corporate sponsorships.

“It’s not coming out of my mortgage,” David says.

“I have a couple of interested investors already. Of course there is some financial risk but that is what being in business is all about.”

David says they will offer some prize money to attract top-class riders, but points out that there is no prize money at the IOM TT.

Isle of Mann TT Superstock sart
Isle of Mann TT Superstock start

“A lot of those things are done because it’s there,” he says.

“Prize money is not why riders want to do it. Sponsors will want to do it because there is massive market potential here and it’s growing.”

David says the next step after community consultation is council approval, then he has events and infrastructure specialists “ready to go”.

“We’re not going to compromise this and we’ll push it out another year if needed,” he says.

“We only get one chance to make this a great event for Queensland and we have to do it properly.”

David says they will employ the “best of the best” to organise the event.

“My speciality is advertising and communications. I’m the CEO of the company and the ideas guy,” he says.

“But we will have some of the best in the country in their fields, such as George Spring who handled the on-court for Wimbledon and Steve Goss, Australia’s foremost safety and risk expert who’s worked on the Australian GP.”

David expects the event could attract more than 16,500 spectators and inject more than $8.5 million into the SSC economy.

19 Comments

  1. Go Hard David!
    I live in Glasshouse (down the hill from Maleny) and will do just about anything to support this, I have even told the wife to be prepared to move up the range if it goes ahead – I will happily sell up and buy out a nah say’r in order to lock myself in for 4 days of brilliance straight past the front gate!
    Bring it on!
    Ben

  2. “David says they will offer some prize money to attract top-class riders, but points out that there is no prize money at the IOM TT.”

    It appears David knows little about the “real TT”
    Riders not only receive prize money they also receive travel allowance and all the big names receive appearance money !
    For example, how about for the Winner of the 2016 Superbike race that leads every lap ?
    Prize money = 18000GBP!
    All he has to do is use Google and the is just a few clicks away.

    Got to love a man with enthusiasm that is willing to gamble other peoples time and money. Good luck.

  3. Hey Mark, next time you chat with David, get him to ride it the other way…having lived on Bald Knob Road for a few years, I can vouch for it being a great circuit, but I always preferred running it clockwise!

  4. December in Maleny? I think those used to riding in the IOM TT may well pass out from heat exhaustion, unless they learn from a few of the locals I’ve seen and ride in shorts and thongs…

  5. What a great proposal, however I fear the regulatory red tape will bind it into submission and therefore die a slow whimpering death on the desk of some bureaucrat. In any case, I have my doubts that the event would be embraced by the left leaning alternate life stylers who will protest it to death unlike the Tassie folk who really get behind events such as Targa Tas.

    Good luck!

  6. Great idea but feel Nanny State will prevail. I also have to agree that Dec timing is particularly poor, summer hols roads will be jammed asit is. Link it with Macau seems reasonable.

  7. This event will never go ahead in the Maleny area. Unfortunately the organisers have no idea of what people in the hinterland value. The organiser was offering money as an incentive. People move here because it is a beautiful place to live with an engaged community. There is no way that they will put money and thrills above safety and serenity. The sad thing is that simply by proposing it the locals are now feeling the desire to clamp down on poor motorcycle behaviour in the area. So there will be knock on affects for all of the well behaved recreational motorcyclists – reduced speeds, speed cameras etc. It is really not in the interests of responsible recreational motorcyclists to support this proposed event.

    1. Maleny for those who haven’t been there is a town populated by
      gentrified hippies , and hipsters the main street is full of cafes
      flogging coffeee and fifteen buck hamburgers. If this was a
      ‘tour de france style ‘ cycle race it would be welcomed with open arms
      but the mere fact that it involves the internal combustion engine in
      enough to send some local residents into a lather of rage.
      I dont know who sally is and what credentials she has to make threats on behalf
      of the citizens of maleny. but a lot of cafes do an excellent trade with the
      large number of bikes that pass through maleny weekly. And i am sure
      they would not be backing something that could be detrimental to
      their business

  8. Plus I assume some sort of insurance. I cant see anyone being able to afford the insurance on an event like this in Australia!

    Would be awesome if it happened though.

  9. I wish them well with it ,but if they don’t get the locals on side
    they will have problems, they fought tooth and nail to try to stop
    a woolworths going in, and december is very much into
    the tourist season up there, winter may have been a better
    choice being off peak for tourism and ‘usually’ drier weather

  10. Is that map accurate? The presentation last night suggested the race would start at the High School on Bunya St, go down Tallowood St and Centenary Drive, out onto Stanley River Rd, then the route on the map and back to the High School. The map fdoes not show the race going into Maleny town centre at all

    1. Hi again Paul,
      I contacted David Rollins and he says the final map has not yet been released.
      However, he has promised to provide us with details as soon as they are finalised, so stay tuned.
      Cheers,
      Mark

  11. It all seems to be a good idea and professional in its approach, I wish you well with the project.
    The only thing I think will be an issue is its timing, December seems a bit of an odd time to have it. If it was a bit closer to the Macau Grand Prix there is a better chance that you would get some of the world’s top Roadracers make the effort whilst they were that side of the world. I don’t think they have the budgets to trek around the world twice for two races a month apart. Maybe something could be sorted out to share travelling money between the two events and then you would have a truly world class field and a great spectacle to sell.
    And by the way there is definitely prize money for the TT races.

  12. I see it now the race is in full flight and the police decide to start pulling over random riders for a chat about safety and the dangers of speeding

    1. Hi Jacob
      If you read through the story you will see this is just the preliminary stages.
      The next step is council approval. After that they need approval and assistance from FIM, MA, police, government departments, etc.
      Plus there are investors to shore up.
      It’s a long road, but we wish them well.
      cheers,
      Mark

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