--- Northern Thunder homepage What's Old in The World of Drag Racing BACKFIRE !! - Bombs or Bouquets Photo Galleries - Race Cars, Babes, Travels Northern Thunder Top Alcohol Dragster Thunder Downunder - Australian Drag Racing Press Clippings Hot Links Top Ten Lists Race Reports Feature Page The Statistics Page For Sale - Race Cars, Trucks, Trailers and Parts Cartoons Motorsport Marketing SpeedZone Magazine E-mail to Northern Thunder What's New - January 6, 2002 What's New - January 7, 2002 What's New - January 8, 2002 What's New - January 9, 2002 What's New - January 13, 2002  

in the world of drag racing

Fast Mouse Fast Mouse

To go to earlier editions of "What's New" go to  What's Old

The latest update as of April 1, 2002

This space should be occupied with our long-planned (and annually forgotten) April Fool's Day joke. Something along the lines of the "blue screen of death" or a faked photo of me setting a world record (obviously in someone else's car) or news of an NHRA National Event coming to Mission Raceway next year.

We haven't neglected our Aussie friends either, with the option to report on the governments in two states spending millions of dollars to build new drag strips and revitalize the straightline sport downunder.

What's that you say? It's true? Yes, it is. Undeterred by the world record holding white elephant known as Eastern Creek Raceway (built in 1990 with more than $200 million of public money... and now leased to a nearly bankrupt sports car club that can't even make the minimal lease payments on a regular basis), the New South Wales state government recently announced the expenditure of $21.26 million on a new, state of the art, stand-alone drag strip to be built literally next door to Eastern Creek.

The new Western Sydney International Dragway will be a reality by the end of this year, joining the Western Australia government built Kwinana Motorplex (near Perth) as the only two dragstrips in the world constructed with public money. Could this be the start of a trend, somewhat along the same lines as the deals many of the major stick and ball sports garner in North America?

From my viewpoint, that's highly unlikely, given the relatively low public profile and acceptance "enjoyed" by most motorsports. Being heavily involved in the sport it's easy to think that the general public pays more than scant attention to our sport, but when it comes to spending their tax dollars to provide us an arena to enjoy it in... that's when the rubber really hits the road, so to speak.

So why is it possible to enjoy such official support in Australia? You could start with the smaller population and economic base, the culture of sport that has developed in the country, the intelligence of the politicians in seeing the benefits for the people... well, let's not go quite that far. Suffice to say, there's numerous reasons why it's happened and will continue to happen downunder. Continue?

Yes, believe it or not, the next major dragstrip project that is seeking government funding is the replacement for Canberra International Dragway in the Australian Capital Territory. The reasons for this latest venture are slightly different though, as the territory was found guilty in court of not dealing fairly with the operators of the Canberra track when they refused to renew their land lease two years ago.

The track was located directly across the road from the airport and the reason given for the lease's non-renewal was the possible extension of the main runway and the safety aspect of having the track located in the crash path of planes overshooting the runway. The multi-million dollar investment made by the operators in leasehold improvements over the years and the economic benefits derived from the track were not considered in the government's decision.

Despite the findings of the court, the judge was unable to force the government to honour the lease and the issue has now taken on a decidedly political tone with a territorial election looming soon. The supporters of Canberra Dragway have marshalled an impressive array of studies, and surveys to back their cause and the prospects for success look good. If it comes to pass, a new $6 million quarter mile (replacing the old eighth-mile track could be in operation before the end of 2003.

Down south in Melbourne and Adelaide the closure of the Bob Jane owned Calder Park and Adelaide International tracks is being offset by the construction of a brand new track in the Melbourne suburb of Deer Park (Adrenalin International) - with private money - and the possible resurrection of the long-defunct River Bend Raceway near Adelaide. The former project is now well underway with a completion date scheduled for later this year. It will be a multi-purpose facility, with a speedway oval, boat oval - in the infield of the speedway! - and a stand-alone international standard dragstrip.

In Adelaide, the racers have spearheaded the movement to lease River Bend from the Japanese car manufacturer owners (I think it's Nissan) and replace the now closed Adelaide dragstrip. Apparently the only major work required to bring River Bend back to operation is the installation of a timing system, a new concrete launch pad and concrete guardwalls. And a grandstand. And some concession/canteen and washroom/toilet blocks. Etc....

Obviously, this project is much further away from operation than any of the aforementioned group, but the fund-raising is actively underway and the expertise and commitment to see it through is definitely in existence. If so, it would bring drag racing full circle from the depths of recent years to the last boom period of the early to mid-90's.

And where does the Northern Thunder Top Alcohol car fit into all of this good news? Seeing that the clock has already wound past midnight into this first day of April and it's nearly time to head off to work, we'll just have to leave our story here for the night and try to pick up the thread again tomorrow evening.

As always, stay tuned. You just never know what may develop around here, do you?

Black Bar
More news as it happens, and if you wish to provide us with any news or information to upgrade or correct any errors at this site:


FastCounter by LinkExchange