PUBLIC consultation for the proposed second motor racing circuit in Bathurst has started, and while enthusiasm from council and the motorsports fraternity is high, questions remain over whether Bathurst will or won't remain a one-track pony.
When monorail salesman and shyster Lyle Lanley explained to the people of Springfield in an episode of the Simpsons that "a town with money's a lot like a mule with a spinning wheel; no one knows how he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it!", they were only debating the disbursement of $US3 million, not the eye-watering $52m the second Bathurst circuit is estimated to cost.
Even the most lackadaisical Bathurstian can't deny just a little bit of race-fuel or Castrol runs in their veins. It is an inescapable and prideful part of our identity, history and future.
But there is more to our town and surrounding area that ought to be considered for preservation and advancement than one and possibly two race circuits.
I am particularly conflicted, as a love for the Great Race and Supercars eventually took me to Europe and allowed me to live out my wildest childhood fantasies working for Honda in Formula One, MotoGP, World Superbike, World Touring Cars and everything in between.
The economic benefit the Bathurst 1000 and 12 hour races bring the city is indisputable, but the unique nature of the public road course means the city is limited in broadening the calendar of events without disrupting residents.
A second closed circuit opens opportunities for other racing categories, like World and Australian Superbike, as well as a potentially lucrative flow of automotive industry media, dealer and customer drive days currently confined in NSW at least to the fully-booked Sydney Motorsport Park at Eastern Creek.
The newly-built Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia is immediate proof that there is real industry demand for modern racing and hospitality facilities.
Infrastructure and heritage matters invariably come down to what projects are prioritised for funding, and with a $52m price tag, one wonders what other projects may be sidelined in favour of a second track when we already have one.
With calls to raise the wall at Chifley Dam to future-proof our town from population growth and the uncertainty of drought, can we afford to do both? The preservation of the surrounding gold-rush towns Hill End and Sofala also needs to be a priority, without relying on the benevolence of organisations like Airbnb - as was the case with a recent $50,000 grant to the latter's pub.
We must also consider countervailing industry trends that may make the appeal of motorsport, and even the joy of driving, irrelevant in the next 20 to 30 years. Motorsport, and live sport in general, faces an existential crisis with both in-person and broadcast fan engagement in decline.
What good is a new race if there's no one interested in seeing it?
Australia's top-selling vehicles are now SUVs and dual-cab utes, and new models in development are becoming increasingly autonomous and electrified - fire-breathing, howling race cars they are not.
So, a second circuit? Yes, but only if the business case stacks up, and certainly not at the cost of other more important projects.
In the end, another track may be more a Shelbyville idea ...