The dream of a motorsport track at the Illabo Showground became reality at the weekend.
Vintage motorsport drivers took the first tentative steps onto the Illabo Motorsport Park, taking their turn around the new facility.
The heat and the dust did not worry the vintage speedway drivers as they demonstrated what made the cars so popular in the past.
Ian Sweetman and Rob Casson travelled all the way from Adelaide for the day.
They drove Mr Casson’s restored six-cylinder Fiat from 1968 which was originally raced in Sydney by Colin Lee. Mr Sweetman praised Illabo’s purpose-built dirt track.
“The modern trend is to have clay in tracks, the old cars don’t have great suspension travel, so they’re quite hard on a driver and the car,” Mr Sweetman said.
“Dirt tracks are how they used to be, you can slide around sideways doing what the cars are built to do. It’s a whole lot of fun as a driver.
“These speedway cars used to draw a massive crowd at the Sydney Easter show.
“There will be other guys coming from Adelaide (next time).”
One of the people behind the development of the track is Junee’s Kerry Phelan.
“I stood out here four years ago with Roger Moore thinking ‘this is what I want to do out here’,” Mr Phelan said.
“He (Roger) said, ‘let’s do it.”
There were no resources or money “just a mission to fulfil”.
“It’s not just been the manual work by committee, but more than 800 hours from GEO Group’s community service workers,” Mr Phelan said.
“That’s $150,000 work of work.”
Mr Phelan said the purpose-built dirt track which hosts vintage, non-racing events was just stage one.
“Stage two is to further develop the track to use it for dirt cart and motorcycle categories.
“And driver training for younger people to learn vehicle control.”
The feedback from Saturday’s event has been excellent, “it motivates us to continue to meet future expectations,” Mr Phelan said.
The next vintage speedway demonstration is scheduled for May 7.