It appears that some dreams do come true.
We, in the motor sport and racing community, have been advocating the need for the creation of a dedicated, multipurpose motorsport facility for years.
Now, it is finally happening. Ħal Far will boast a facility that will not only meet our needs but also be capable of hosting international events.
The hub will be the only homologated motorsports complex in Europe, encompassing a circuit racing track, a drag racing track and a karting track. We are confident it will be impressive in every way.
For years now, enthusiasts of this sport have had to either travel in order to practice their sport, or make do with the limited resources that were available.
Such a situation was creating massive discrepancies between those who could afford the sport, and those who couldn’t afford it.
Furthermore, poor facilities can be dangerous towards professionals and those who enjoy watching the sport. This was not a matter of there not being enough land, or there not being enough people who are invested in the sport.
It was, rather, a matter that required seamless co-ordination, detailed studies, and a willingness to really listen to the needs of the sports community.
We don’t blame sports enthusiasts for being sceptical about this project materialising.
However, we can vouch that the Government has indeed listened to the need of thousands of enthusiasts and professionals, and has diligently consulted with all stakeholders, whilst ensuring full respect towards residents.
In fact, more than half of the land being utilised is already used by motorsport enthusiasts and no ODZ land will be taken up.
For the majority of residents, there will be no additional noise impact when compared to existing background noise.
Nonetheless, there will be various mitigation measures, such as barrier walls. We will ensure that all vehicles are free of excessive smoke and do not leak oil or other liquids. Any road registered vehicles accessing the racetrack will have to be VRT compliant and comply with the manufacturer’s specifications in terms of CO2 emissions.
In short, this investment will take motorsports in Malta to the next level, improving the national and international profile of Maltese athletes.
Local drivers will be provided with additional training facilities, therefore potentially increasing safety on the Maltese roads.
It will also be a boost to tourism in the south of the island.
It was an extremely proud moment for us to hear distinguished people like FIA deputy president Graham Stoker express his excitement towards what Malta has achieved.
It was equally encouraging to hear FIA president Jean Todt address local athletes and give them the recognition they truly deserve. This was a moment we could only remotely dream of, up until recently.
We have worked very closely with the government. The right funding mechanism was found thanks to the National Development and Social Fund.
The outcome is a complex that we are very confident of. We are grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisations, Clifton Grima, for recognising the importance of motorsports and ensuring our dream could be turned into a reality.
We are also grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities, Alex Muscat, for securing the funding from the National Development and Social Fund and recognising that this project has the ability to generate a significant economic return in the Maltese economy and generate jobs.
We look forward to the hub taking shape and pledge to manage it in the most professional manner.
We are confident it will bring many more people into the sport as they get to experience how thrilling it is.
The hub will be a special destination for all motorsport enthusiasts, tourists, and international visitors. It will be something for all of Malta to be proud of.