An Oceanside Racetrack
The government puts the Mandalika International Street Circuit into a national priority program. There are problems with buying the lands for the project.
BULLDOZERS roll over an empty stretch of land in Bunut hamlet, Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, in mid-September. As far as the eye could see, the land in Kuta village where trees used to grow had already been leveled. “The land-packing process is 76 percent complete,” said Pengembangan Pariwisata Indonesia Corporate Secretary Miranti Nasti Rendranti in a written statement on Friday, October 2.
This location is to become a part of the Mandalika International Street Circuit. This new racetrack will become an arena for the Grand Prix MotoGP and World Superbike racing season next year. Top racers such as Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi are planned to race there.
The Mandalika International Street Circuit will be one of the most unique superbike racing arenas in the world. It covers 130 hectares. About 52 hectares of land are going to be transformed into an international caliber ‘street circuit’ motorcycle racetrack with a view of the Indian Ocean. It is being called a ‘street circuit’ because it will be used as a public street when it is not being used as a racetrack.
Initially, Pengembangan Pariwisata, which is commercially known as Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), was targeting construction of the track be completed in October 2020. This plan was pushed back to June 2021. Some obstacles, such as searching for sources of funding, have delayed the project. “Another hurdle was purchasing land during Covid-19,” said Miranti.
Some state institutions have urged the resolution of difficulties in building the track, in particular those related to purchasing the needed lands. Members of the House of Representatives (DPR) and local council asked ITDC to immediately pay those residents whose land was being used for the racetrack.
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has also gone into the field. “The community is not against the construction of the racetrack, as long as it does not infringe on their rights,” said Komnas HAM Commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara, on September 1.
President Joko Widodo established the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (KEK) in the Government Regulation No. 52/2014 as a strategic program for developing the national economy. The President officially launched the commencement of operations on 1,000 hectares of the Mandalika KEK on October 20, 2017. There has been a total investment of Rp13 trillion.
The Mandalika International Street Circuit is a part of the Mandalika Special Economic Zone as a national tourism strategic area. The racetrack project is valued at Rp800 billion. It is hoped that this speedway will bring in dollars from international tourists. “We must remain optimistic that the MotoGP track in Mandalika can be used in 2021,” said Wahyu Utomo, chair of the executive team from the Committee for the Acceleration of Priority Infrastructure Provision (KPPIP), at the end of last year.
ITDC is also known as the state-owned enterprise (SOE) that has managed the Nusa Dua, Bali, tourism area since 1974. The government chose ITDC to become an SOE in the field of tourism, and is now being entrusted to build the racetrack. ITDC is working with Pembangunan Perumahan for the construction work. It has also called on a number of government-owned banks to raise capital.
Miranti Nasti Rendranti explained that ITDC has been planning to build the Mandalika racetrack since it signed a cooperation agreement with Dorna Sports S.L. on January 28, 2019. Dorna has been the operator of MotoGP racing since 1988. After signing that agreement, ITDC paid a visit to the State Palace and obtain the support of President Jokowi on March 11, 2019. “This area can be used for other sporting events,” said Miranti.