3 February 2022

ACT Speedway starts its engines for a bumper year of motorsport

| James Coleman
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ACT Speedway

Saturday’s event at the ACT Speedway will again pit Ford versus Holden as racers compete for the ACT Production Car title. Photo: James Coleman.

Dust will fill the air when some of the nation’s top racers roar out of the pits at the ACT Speedway this Saturday to mark the return of local motorsport for 2022.

National Capital Motorsport Club (NCMC) vice-president Murray Thomas says up to 80 cars from the ACT, NSW, Victoria and Queensland will ensure the event at Fairbairn Park in Pialligo is the largest line-up of entrants seen at the speedway.

Murray says the 5 February event represents “the first in a long time” after cancellations in late 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions and wet weather.

“Everyone is itching to get out there and have a run.”

ACT Speedway

Major development work has been undertaken on the back wall of the ACT Speedway during the off-season to bring it in line with motorsport regulations. Photo: James Coleman.

The program’s leading race will feature 30 modified Fords and Holdens jousting for the title of ACT Production Car.

“This is your classic Commodore versus Falcon battle and it’s super competitive,” Murray says.

Production cars retain the original engine, street tyres and suspension points, but include heavy modifications to aspects of the engine, chassis and body work.

Murray says interest in motorsport is exploding in the Canberra region, especially as continued improvements to local facilities begin to catch the eye of national race events.

READ ALSO I have one word for people complaining about noise at Wakefield Park Raceway: stop

“Looking over at the go-kart track next to us, their membership has grown two to three-fold since they made improvements to the track,” he says.

“Build it and they will come.”

The NCMC made the most of last year’s downtime by extensively developing the back wall of the 500-metre clay track to bring it in line with motorsport regulations.

“We had to completely dismantle the fence and remove every barrier, and the help we received from some of the local guys and our president James Hodak was moving.

“A community organisation can’t do what we do without people like that.”

Numerous working bees later, the track is now “looking a million bucks”.

ACT Speedway sunset

Scintillating sunset racing awaits those heading to ACT Speedway this Saturday. Photo: James Coleman.

Plans at the track this year include lengthening the pit lane to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles taking part in events.

Murray says they have also “jumped over all the hurdles” to get the ACT Speedway approved for night-time races.

He says despite getting a grant from the ACT Government about a decade ago to equip the track with electricity and lighting, nothing happened until he met with ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury.

“He said ‘I enjoy what I do, walking and bicycling, and you should be allowed to enjoy what you want to do’. He was very sympathetic to our cause and made it happen.

“After 10 years of being the squeaky wheel and trying to jump over all the barriers that were put in front of us, we’re good to go.”

READ ALSO It’s time to bring back motorsport in Canberra

The speedway was approved for racing from 6 pm to 10 pm during daylight-saving after a series of noise tests was met.

Murray says they passed the tests with flying colours after the responsibility was shared between officials from the ACT Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and NCMC members. They now plan to hold five or six night meetings this year.

Two other events are also locked in on 12 March and the year’s other major title, the ACT Formula 500 on 2 April.

“This will bring competitors from across Australia.

“That was one of the things we mentioned in our proposal – the number of people and dollars we bring into the area.”

The 5 February race is sponsored by Enzed, a hydraulic equipment supplier in Fyshwick. The flag will drop earlier than usual at 5:30 pm.

“We usually start at 6 pm, but we have to start earlier this year on account of the number of cars we have.”

Updates will be posted to the ACT Speedway’s Facebook page and tickets are available on Eventbrite for $10 to $60.

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Wayne Bennett9:03 am 08 Feb 22

Well done to all involved in ACT Speedway – a professionally run meeting, getting through a massive program without any significant delays. Some great fields lead to great racing. Congrats to Trevor Mills for sending it harder than everyone else, and taking the ACT Proddie title, and an outstanding drive by Troy Little took the wingless sprintcar feature. Lesson for those considering attending for the first time in the future though – take warm jackets, blankets, and bring your own food. Finally, check out Maximum Action Photography for some brilliant action shots from the night.

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