Vandals plague motorplex

BURNED OUT: the hill climb timing caravan was first moved then torched by vandals.
BURNED OUT: the hill climb timing caravan was first moved then torched by vandals.

COLLIE Motorplex is being converted into a fortress to prevent trespassers doing any more damage or killing themselves, Motoring South West manager Simon Sterner said this week.

Last week three “idiots on trail bikes” went onto the site while truck testing was in place. They raced away when chased but endangered themselves and the truck drivers

Pig shooters, illegal firewood cutters, hoon drivers and vandals are creating continual and costly headaches and work for volunteers, an exasperated Mr Sterner said.

“The DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation) issue free timber cutting licences and tell wood gatherers where to collect firewood, so why do they have to come here?”

Heavy-duty gates have been erected on the road leading to Lake Kepwari and elsewhere to keep people off the track.

One set of gates came from the Premier Coal mine site and had been reinforced by railway line on either side.

Big mounds of earth have been created by bush tracks, which are stopping vehicles getting onto the circuit but have not deterred motorcyclists.

More earthworks are to be done in the bush to deter trespassers.

Mr Sterner pointed to tyres lying beside the track. They had been tumbled from banks of tyres and hit by inexperienced and unsupervised drivers doing burn-outs.

During the June long weekend, vandals burned the time keeping caravan, which had been beside the hill climb track but out of the sight line of the administration buildings.

It was not the first time vandals had interfered with the vehicle.

The caravan had previously been shifted by trespassers. Fearing it could be stolen or crashed, Motoring South West removed the wheels, jacked it up and welded it to stanchions.

The vandals hit back by breaking in, stealing some of the equipment, including extension cords, and burning the caravan and the rest of its contents.

The loss was a huge blow to Motoring South West, which was a volunteer organisation, Mr Sterner said.

He was at a loss to understand the motivation but the problem had been relentless in his nearly five years at the motorplex.

More than $3 million a year flowed into Collie businesses as a result of motorplex activity but driver trainers could choose to go elsewhere because of the trespassers endangering themselves and others on the circuit, Mr Sterner said.

He appealed to people who may know who was responsible for some of the trespass to phone the motorplex or the police.

An unwanted caravan to replace their torched one would also be a huge help. “You can bet, that just after we buy another one, someone will say ‘there is one is our backyard you could have had’,” he said.