The pandemic is forcing Mount Panorama resident Shane “Robbo” Robinson to whittle down his guest list for the Bathurst 1000 motor race on Sunday.
- Mount Panorama residences must follow a strict 20-person visitor limit due to COVID-19
- Some residents host private parties while others rent their properties to fans or race crews
- During races, residents access their properties through an underpass beneath the track
“I’ve said no to my sister — she’s going to give it a miss because it’s just too hard to pick amongst the people that really love it,” Mr Robinson said.
For two decades the crane operator has owned one of the 31 residential properties dotted along the world-renowned circuit in central-western New South Wales.
Mr Robinson said he would usually greet up to a 1000 people at his house during the annual four-day event.
But under COVID-19 rules he is restricted to allow only 20 guests at a time.
Supercars has announced a daily limit of 4,000 people to the ticketed event that normally attracts 50,000 visitors per day.
Seating is confined to the bottom of the mountain — known as Wahluu in the Indigenous Wiradjuri language — and public camping is prohibited.
‘Big dream’ residence
This year Mr Robinson will host a racing team and a handful of close mates at his property.
“It will be a bit of a break this year, and I might get to sit and watch the whole race myself.”
A dedicated motorsport fan from a young age, Mr Robinson said living on the world-famous circuit comes with a few perks.
“To pull out onto a racetrack as your address and look at your licence and it says Conrod Straight, it’s a very egotistical thing,” he said.
“I’ve been all over the world, and when you say you’re from Mount Panorama Bathurst, everyone wants to call in and say hello.
Passion for motorsport
Fellow resident Keith Tucker has been a passionate motorsport fan for four decades.
He said he once postponed a special trip with his wife to attend the Great Race.
Three years ago, he jumped at the chance to snap up some real estate on what he called the “number one race track in Australia”.
“Living on the mountain, it’s like the Vaucluse of Sydney,” he said.
“It is an opulent place to live.”
An automotive engineer by trade, Mr Tucker restores vintage vehicles and builds replica race cars.
He recently installed a virtual racing simulator inside his “man cave” for entertaining guests.
But his four-hectare property, which includes a separate rental unit, has lost tens of thousands of dollars in cancelled bookings during the pandemic, Mr Tucker said.
“It’s had a big impact on our business,” he said.
Life on the circuit
During the five closed-track events held throughout the year, the local council locks barriers across driveways facing the racetrack.
Residents who live inside the circuit access their properties through an underpass beneath the track.
Outside of race weeks, the 6.2-kilometre circuit is a two-way public road with a speed limit of 60 kilometres per hour.
Mr Tucker said he often witnessed amateur drivers testing their vehicles and the law.
“You’ll get your knuckleheads who’ll get there and push the limits,” he said.
“Cops have a field day here just about every day of the week.”
Bike mechanic Mick Baumberger is another “100 per cent motorsport fan” whose family owns a property on the mountain.
“You go down the front driveway, and you’re like 10 metres away from the cars flying past you,” Mr Baumberger said.
He said the roar of the V8 engines and crowds could become overwhelming, but residents knew what conditions they bought into.
Watch Brock: Over The Top at 8:30pm on Tuesday, November 3, on ABC TV+iview