Motorsport – what’s your flavour

 

I love Motorsport. I love the sound. I love the smell. I love the adrenaline. And I love the speed.

In my younger years I raced cars in the forest for a few years and picked up many valuable driving skills that have helped me on the road, and I burnt through a lot of money.  They say that the best way to make a small fortune in motor racing is to start with a big one.

Mine was rallying on a shoestring.  A 1972 Mazda RX2 built up from a road car – roll cage, harnesses, navigation equipment, a number of small performance and handling enhancements, and a cool paint job.

There was nothing quite like sitting in the car at the start of a stage in a state of nervous anticipation, with the feeling of being invulnerable being helmeted in a car, held in place with a 5 point harness, surround by a big sturdy roll cage. Nothing can hurt me.  Then you shift your focus to the official counting you down, and as they reach zero you launch yourself into the forest with the sound of the motor screaming, tyres tearing at the ground for traction, and the cabin filled with the sound of rocks hitting the floor pan.  But you tune all that out to ensure you hear the calls of your navigator.  Rallying is one of the true team sports, where you have to have complete trust in the other person and in their abilities – if they say the road goes hard right over blind crest, then it does … you throw the car sideways before you even see the corner in anticipation that the corner reveals itself.

Unfortunately I ran out of time and money and to this day I struggle going to an event without that if only feeling.  But I certainly don’t regret the time or money, it was such a great experience and a heap fun.

Sorry I seem to have gotten sidetracked reminiscing on days past.  And the older I get … the faster I was…!



Motorsport takes all forms and while I’m not a die hard fan of any particular form of Motorsport.  If I had to pick one it would be MotoGP.  However over the last few years I have been trying to get out and sample a variety of other forms of motor racing.

Last weekend I got along to the Winter National Drag Championship which got me thinking about the different types of motor racing I have been to, so I thought I’d dig through my photos and see what I could pull together.

Drag Racing – I can’t say that drag racing really was on my radar.  A simple 400 meter dash.  That’s it.  How hard could that be?  Maybe a simple concept but the effort that is gone to is staggering.

From the car park we made our way to the drag strip which meant effectively walking passed all the teams working on a vast array for wildly modified cars and bikes covering many classes of racing from relatively stock to mechanical marvels.

After finding seats the first qualifying runs for the top fuel cars were about to commence. I hadn’t yet got my ear plugs out and thought yeah it’ll be loud but it’ll be fine.  Loud does not come close.!  The sound these things make is indescribable with every fibre of your being rattled as they hurtle passed you, leaving you awestruck at their sheer power.  The fastest run we saw on the day was 3.78 seconds at 325mph. Think about that for a minute – from a standing start to over 520km/h in under 4 seconds – 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, 3 one thousand, 4 one thousand.

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Top Fuel run lighting up the night sky

Motorcycle circuit racing – While I’m certainly not a regular at events I have been along to a few motorcycle circuit events at different tracks over the years – both local and international events.  One of the great things about the lower key events is that everything is much more relaxed.

The highlight for me was going to the Catalunya MotoGP in 2016 while we were in Spain.  And riding to the event with the 10’s of thousands of others just made the experience even better.

Jet boats – I’d like to say from the outset that I’m not a boat person and anyone that has been with me out on the open water can attest to that.!  Therefore I’ve never really been into boat racing of any form.  Jet boats however would be the exception as their racing is a mix of super cross and rallying, with the added bonus of being fast and loud.

I have occasionally caught snippets of jet boat racing on TV but you really don’t appreciate the sound and speed of these boats and the amount of water their impellers displace is staggering.  It’s a great day out and all the action happens right in front of you.

Check out this link for more information and calendar of events – Australian Jet Boat Series.

Tractor Pull – I grew up on a farm, so being around tractors and farm implements are some of my earliest memories.  As a young teenager I’d be out ploughing paddocks while my towny friends were riding around town on their pushies.

A quick search of Wikipedia says that tractor pulling has its roots in farmers pitting their horses against others to see who had the strongest horses.  This led to specifically bred draft horses for the task and there isn’t a big leap to tractors once farms became mechanised.  And the rest as they say is history.

The idea is pretty simple – pull a weighted sled in a straight line over a set distance.  The added complication is the balance of the weight moves forward the further it is dragged making it effectively heavier and heavier the further it is pulled.

I’m sure there is lots of fiendish laughter in sheds when these ‘tractors’ are being constructed.  Super charged Big Block Hemi on a short frame with big wheels and cage.  What only one … lets do three.  No… let’s use an aircraft motor.  Yes this is verging on mad scientist territory.!   But this madness sure does put on a great show.

Climbing into bed when I got home Deb ordered me out to have a shower as I stank of a concoction of av-gas and diesel fumes, with a liberal coating of dust.

Check out this link for more information and calendar of events – Australian Tractor Puller Association.

Side by Side – Side by Side (SxS) racing is proof that if you create a new type of vehicle it doesn’t take long before someone decides to race them and not too long before there is a whole racing series dedicated to them. SxS’s are now raced in off-road racing series around the world including the Dakar.

When a round of the Australian SxS came to Canberra I went along to have a look. What I found was a racing category that looked like lots of fun and one that is more attainable than most other forms of motor racing.

Check out this link for more information and calendar of events – Australian SxS racing championship.

V8 Touring cars – I’ve been to a few tin top races over the years and while I appreciate the racing, it’s not something that I particularly enjoy at the circuit, I rather watch it on TV where I can have it on in the background.

Karting – I’ve got a few friends who have raced karts over the years and many big time racers had their start in karts.  While it is another cheap way to get into motor sport, it’s not something that has particularly interested me.

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So what’s next?

There is still a lot of categories to check out.  But I’d love to see a stock or indy car race while we are in the US but after a bit of Google-foo nothing really lines up.  Bugger.

What type of motor racing is your favour and that I have to include?

16 thoughts on “Motorsport – what’s your flavour

  1. I’ve always enjoyed watching rally. Volunteered a couple of times at Rally of Canberra and at Melbourne Rally. I remember going to see the Group A Ford Sierra’s on track as a kid. Later I followed the 2L Super Tourers after watching BTCC on TV. Never really got into the V8s.

    But since starting to ride it’s been MotoGP. Been to several at the Island which is such an awesome track to spectate at (and a Superbikes round too). Was at Qatar when Stoner won the 250 round. Was cool to hear the Aussie anthem but that’s a crappy track to spectate. I have had only a couple of chances to watch local rounds at Eastern Creek which is ridiculous when I live about 10 mins from the track! But life gets in the way these days….

    • Yes Phillip Island is a great track to spectate at. I haven’t made it down there for a World Superbike round yet – I hear its a great event to be at.

      Thanks for the comment

  2. There is something about an internal combustion explosion that mixes perfectly with testosterone. I’ve been a casual fan of many different iterations of the combination but lately I’ve been watching and attending flat track motorcycle races. That’s my current favorite flavor.

    • It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the speedway and watched those mighty sprint cars – actually I’d forgotten about that until now (I’ll have to rummage through my archives to see if I have any photos). But I’ve never been to a bike flat track race. I’ll have to correct that. I’m also fascinated by the ice racers but there is none of that sort of racing here.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Oh my YES, racing changed my life. I raced off-road motorcycles (California Desert) from 1973 – 2008 and loved every minute of it. Still enjoy watching all types of racing, on-road and off-road. Just like you, the the smell, sound and excitement is addicting. At times I wish I could still race. Moto GP is great but my favorite race I wish to see once is the Isle of Mann, those are real racers and to think the speeds they have achieved on the Mountain Course this year, simply amazing.

    • Yes I’d love to see the IoM it really is racing in its purest form. I met Cameron Donald at an event for local motorcyclists a few years ago and to he talked through a video of a lap of IoM – just wow.

  4. Hey Zed14 I hate motorsport but I have been sidecar racing. That is the biggest blast there is. Oran Park, Amaroo, Broadford for the Southern Classic (we came third on a JAP Norton outfit) and the first racers on Eastern Creek, they thought the sidecars could clean up any crap on the track first. As I said I hate motorsport, it is the most boring thing ever but the smell of methanol brings it all back. Like you , lots of great memories. My older brother was also a rally nut, then he got the nickname of Tree Hunter. He drove an old Hillman Hunter and yep he found lots of trees. Great memories

    • Thanks for the comment Kristine.

      I certainly don’t expect everyone to like or even understand motor sport. For me, I don’t understand the fascination with any horse event. Each to their own.

      Sidecars – that’s pretty serious racing. Another great example of team work and the need for rider and swinger trusting each other.

  5. Rally! OMG Crazy! I rarely watch it but when I do I am mesmerized at how people can hold it together. Or maybe they aren’t holding it together they are just on the bleeding edge all the time;) Great post and pics, thank you for sharing that!

  6. I love all sorts of racing but deep down the drags are my favourite. I recall hearing the following description of a the performance of a top fuel dragster.

    Imagine a Top Fueller sitting at the start line idling. In the other lane is Michael Schumacher in his F1 car coming from behind at his top speed of about 220mph. At the moment he crosses that line, the top fueller gets the green light. Within 20 metres he’s doing 100mph in less than a second. At 200 metres he is now doing 270mph and took just 3.5 seconds to get there. Schumacher is still ahead doing his 220mph. By the time the fueller gets to the finish line, he is doing 330mph, in 4.5 seconds and Schumacher is about 70 metres behind him. Gave him a 220pmh head start and flogged him.

      • After a fatal accident they dropped the distance they race in the US to 1000 foot rather than 1320. Bit more for them to slow down. Speeds are similar even given the shorter distance.

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