Racers Belinda Halliwell and Brooke Leech prepare for practise runs yesterday.
Racers Belinda Halliwell and Brooke Leech prepare for practise runs yesterday.

Octane set to excite

MORE than 1000 speed-fiends – and that’s just the car racing entourage – have swooped on Morgan Park this weekend, bringing a substantial economic injection into the Rose City.

This is the second time the Shannons Nationals’ team has selected Morgan Park for a round of the motor racing championships and series director Rob Curkpatrick said the 130-vehicle competition, with accompanying teams of about six, was keen to be immersed in country hospitality.

“Warwick reminds me of Bathurst,” he said.

“The track is of a national standard, there’s all the shops, hotels and pubs. It’s a great atmosphere and the people are more than helpful.

“I spent $400 (on Thursday) on paper and photocopying and that’s not including food or accommodation for the three days we’re here.

“We’ve brought about 1000 people including teams, media and officials – it’s a great boost for the local economy.”

Mr Curkpatrick said drivers had come from as far afield as China, Singapore, Britain and New Zealand.

Racing will be everything from superkarts, Porsche and saloon cars to Formula 3 for the CAMS Gold Star.

Warwick District Sporting Car Club president Bill Campbell said yesterday was the first time drivers had experienced the new track.

“The track’s been extended from 2.1km to 3km,” Mr Campbell said.

The layout received widespread praise yesterday, with the Rockpress Australian Superkart Championship the first class to test out the extended circuit, with its five new corners.

“I’ve always liked Morgan Park, even the old section that was a bit like a go-kart track, but the new section is really good,” said Garry Holt, the reigning Australian Manufacturers Championship, who is campaigning a Holden Astra in the production-based series.

“The track has a bit of a bump, but the circuit flows really nicely, the right-left onto the start-finish straight is fantastic.

“It’s a very interesting track, it’s got a lot of character, a lot of up and down.”

Action kicks off today at 8:15am with practice, qualifying and a round of racing from all six categories, while racing commences at 8:45am tomorrow.

Admission is $15 today and $25 tomorrow, with weekend passes available for $30. Children under 14 are free.


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