We welcome guest writer Wade Aunger. Wade is a motor racing commentator and journalist, well known as the voice of a number of speedway and circuit racing venues (including head of commentary at Sydney Speedway for the 2014/15 season), and race series (including the V8 Utes category), and host of TV show Thursday Thunder. This article was written in 2012 for the original launch of Exhaust Notes Australia.
Recently, I was fortunate to commentate at the 50th Anniversary Bathurst 1000 in my role as series announcer for the Auto One V8 Ute Series, protected by Armor All.
Just being there was a thrill, but the chance to announce there every year with the V8 Utes is something I am always eternally grateful for – I’m not a huge fan of road racing but I love my Utes because they’re the closest thing I know to Speedway (all the getting sideways you see).
One thing that was immediately evident at Bathurst – even as early as the Thursday morning – was that the crowd was going to be E-NOR-MOUS.
And it was. The place was standing room only. And a crowd like that breeds it’s own atmosphere.
It was obvious to me that the event was going to be massive, because for a year now the teams, the sponsors, the promoters and the fans have been talking it up – BIG TIME.
“Are you going to Bathurst? Are you going to Bathurst?” It seemed like everyone wanted to know.
The positive energy surrounding the event, and the fact that it was the last Ford vs Holden battle at Mt. Panorama, and the 50th anniversary, guaranteed a huge crowd and a wonderful event.
Speedway needs the same situation. It needs us all talking it up – to everyone we come into contact with.
Radio and TV ads only do so much – at the end of the day its up to US (the teams, the fans, the promoters, the sponsors, the families, the friends) to sell our sport to the new fans, and the ones who used to come but don’t any more.
In short, “IT’S TIME TO GET BACK TO THE SPEEDWAY.”
Positive energy works. So does positive talk.
I KNOW, and YOU KNOW that Speedway is the best Motorsport on the planet – if not the best sport in general, but sometimes we let the politics and the downside of Speedway inhibit our passion for going around clay circles.
I can name ten things I love about Speedway before I name one that I don’t.
And that’s the kind of perspective we need to keep.
This year, the competition for the entertainment dollar is more fierce than it ever has been. There are literally hundreds of different options on a Saturday night for single people, couples and families to spend their time and money on.
The heroics of the drivers, the hilarity of the Fender Benders, the commitment of the teams, the energy of those motors, that heavenly smell, the way the air shakes, the nervousness you get when a feature race field rocks into turn one – they’re all part and parcel of the appeal of this sport.
It’s an assault on your senses – smell, touch, sight, hearing.
So this year, more than ever, it’s important that we sell the sport to our friends, our neighbours and our work colleagues to lift the profile of Speedway in the broader social and business community.
We need to work on the same kind of tribalism, the same kind of energy that Bathurst had recently.
And it’s really not that hard. Just start telling anyone who’ll listen…
IT’S TIME TO GET BACK TO THE SPEEDWAY.
[Update] With new owners, Sydney Speedway has undergone a major facelift for the upcoming 2014/15 season, making it very much a family friendly venue. These improvements will hopefully give fans an even bigger recent to, in the words of Wade, Get Back To The Speedway.