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The forgotten South Australian circuit

Prior to The Bend Motorsport Park Repco Supercars Championship round last weekend The Garage posted a story focused on Mallala, but there is another somewhat forgotten circuit not used for nearly 20 years.

Adelaide International Raceway celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year on January 9, but with little fanfare. Built by Surfers Paradise International Raceway owner Keith Williams, AIR is located 26km from Adelaide’s CBD featuring a 2.4km circuit, a dirt track, asphalt bowl and drag strip.

As the Mallala feature stated, Williams also owned Mallala as AIR became the focus for South Australian motorsport with national categories including the touring car championship, Tasman Series and many others all contesting rounds at the venue.

Ownership transitioned to the Bob Jane Corporation in 1982 and its still under this resume today.

From 1972 to 1988, AIR hosted a round of the Australian Touring Car Championship and was in fact the scene of Dick Johnson’s first Ford Sierra RS500 victory back in 1987.

It also hosted Australian Endurance Championship rounds, Tasman Series, Rothmans International Series, Australian Drivers’ Championship, Formula 2 Championship, Sports Car Championship, Sports Sedan Championship and GT Championship providing it with a prestigious history.

One famous incident during a sports sedan race was a start pile up initiated by Peter Brock driving Bob Jane’s Chevrolet Monza, which also involved Jim Richards and Kingsley Hubbard among others leading to a fair cost in damage.

The opening corner of AIR was spectacular as cars reached 260-270km/h into a hard braking, but fast sweeping right hander.

Alan Jones holds the lap record at a 49.5s in a Lola T332-Chevrolet set during the 1977 Rothmans International Series.

In its later life, The Bowl was used as a venue for AUSCAR/NASCAR at night, while drag racing regularly occurred.

The last national circuit racing meeting was the AASA Australian Motor Racing Championships held in the late 2000s and there has been no news on whether it will return after re-surfacing works stop.

We can all hope it returns!