Use reclaimed land off Lantau for a multi-purpose road-sports track

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 April, 2017, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 April, 2017, 10:23pm

I thank James Porteous for his article (“Why F1 track is a dumb idea”, April 2) regarding the report on suggestions to build a race track on a proposed reclamation site off Lantau (“Motoring group, Tien call for F1 race circuit on Lantau”, March 24).

No idea is perfect, and I respect different opinions on this issue. I agree with Porteous that Hong Kong faces different social issues. The crux of the problem is this: do we suspend all new developments just because there are other pressing issues in society? If this is what Porteous is saying, then I have to disagree with him. Although, later in his article he suggests the land in Sunny Bay could be used as a sports facility. So is he saying it is OK to use it for cricket and softball, but not for motor racing?

I am fully aware of the challenges countries hosting F1 races face, which is why I did not recommend building such a track.

I only mentioned Singapore to illustrate the potential of motorsports events. However, I have always had reservations as to whether such an investment would be worthwhile, which is why I asked the government to do further studies. Having said that, there are major races other than F1, such as MotoGP and the Touring Car Championship.

Initially, my suggestion to study the building of a motor racetrack in Hong Kong was based on it being a tourist draw. Later, comments I received indicated that not only would it be a tourist attraction, but a great help to other road sports.

So, I talked to the Hong Kong cycling team’s head coach Shen Jinkang, who is familiar with race tracks as the team often goes abroad to train or race. He is fully behind having a local race track. I also solicited the opinions of long-distance runners who said that marathons are frequently held on racing circuits since 10 laps of a 4.5km circuit are the equivalent of a full marathon.

There is one more thing I must clarify, the representative from the Hong Kong Automobile Association came to me only after I made the suggestion.

For the reasons I have given, I have revised my proposal and am now calling for a multi-purpose road-sports track, which will not only serve the 600 motor-racing enthusiasts who have the automobile association’s competition licences.

Porteous suggested using the reclamation area for parks, sporting and recreation facilities. A multi-purpose road-sports track can serve these needs.

Michael Tien Puk-sun, legislative councillor