EMERALD could be enjoying world class karting as early as June next year.

Phase one of construction began on the Emerald Driver Training and Motorsport Complex on November 15 and when complete, the facility is expected to attract a round of the Australian Karting Association’s National Championships.

President of the Emerald Karting Club, Mr Geoff Dein, believes the complex will grow to become one of Emerald’s biggest attractions.

“It will be the only track in Australia of international standard,” he said.

“I guarantee we will get a round of the Australian Karting Championships in the future, that’s the F1 of the karting world.

“The whole thing has come out better than expected.”

The facility will double as a driver training complex, supporting both bikes and cars.

Central Highlands Regional Council manager for communication and change, Monica Sidhu, said the track circuit, which will be more than 10 metres wide, will feature a number of straights and bends to provide a variety of conditions for driver training.

“Additional work that will be done as part of stage one includes a grid area, breakdown lane areas and an ambulance access lane area“Funding for this stage of the project is by way of a council contribution of $750,000 and a grant under the State Government’s Sustainable Resources Communities initiative to the value of $2 million,” Ms Sidhu said.

Phase one is expected to be finished by March.

Phase two will see the laying down of a drag strip among other upgrades.

Mr Dein said there will be a settling in period once phase one of construction was complete, involving a few tests and minor races to prove the track was capable of hosting the larger events.

He said he first identified the need for an Emerald motorsport complex in 1995 but it was put on the backburner until about two years ago.

“It’s all been very timely since then,” he said.

“We found the perfect site for the track - which was well-timed and lucky.

“The site is about six kilometres out of town and there will be a dedicated turn-off for it.

“There will also be dedicated room for camping out there.”

About two weeks ago, the Emerald Karting Club held a membership drive day to drum up further support.

Mr Dein said the day was a great success and was happy with the level of public interest in the sport.

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