HAPPY HELPERS: Damian Roberts and Matt Hibble have both spent many hours working on the new lights at the Fitzroy Park Raceway.
HAPPY HELPERS: Damian Roberts and Matt Hibble have both spent many hours working on the new lights at the Fitzroy Park Raceway. Allan Reinikka

Karters work together

WHEN a sport's group is handed a quote of close to half a million dollars, what do they do to reduce that amount of outlay?

Have a look around the club membership, of course! At least that is what the Rockhampton “Formula K” Kart Club has done with spectacular results.

Club publicity officer Kevin Doherty said the response had been incredible with the anticipated payout for the work program at the Fitzroy Park Raceway amounting to just a fraction of the original quote.

Over the past few years there has been continuous improvement at the venue with modifications made to the track, pit area and spectator parking.

However, the one thing missing was permanent floodlighting. That meant if Fitzroy Park were to be used for night racing the club had to import the lights and the power source.

While that is the case the club has made massive steps towards hosting night meetings in the near future.

“We should be out of it (completed) for about $60,000,” Doherty said.

One of the major contributors was Huntlys Heavy Equipment with Damian Roberts taking an active role in the site upgrade.

Having previously assisted with the construction of the car parking area, Huntlys came into the lighting project in a big way, transporting a 30-tonne excavator to the track and then dug trenches for the wiring, taking a loader down to backfill the trenches, and building a security bank around the car park.

The company also provided its crane truck to lift and stand up the light towers.

“They donated all the earthworks and Damian's only a recent member,” Doherty reported.

“He's made a hell of a contribution.”

Roberts may only be a new starter, but already he has club members taking notice of his karting skills.

“He had a blinder on Sunday (club day),” Doherty reported.

The poles also came by way of donation with State Member of Parliament Robert Schwarten brokering a deal where the club got the lights from the old gaol and “Field Fest” site.

Doherty said members with the “relevant tickets” had assisted with the electrical work, welding and operation of a cherry-picker meaning the main costs were for some new lights ($25,000), conduit ($7000), concrete ($2000) and cables.

Not all those helping were now racing at the track, but were enthusiastic supporters of the kart club.

Doherty said those assisting included Ben Prajbisz, Lindsay Dagan, Evan Unwin, Fred Watson, Kel West, Matt Hibble and so the list goes on.

“There have been too many club members to mention,” he added.

Even when the power is connected and the lights switched on there are further plans to upgrade lighting in the pit area.

“Once finished, we will come into line with tracks like Mackay and Gladstone,” Doherty said.

“In summer we can race in the cool of a night. It will be good for spectators as they can watch Saturday night racing at no cost.”

The club also plans a community project.

“We are hoping to build a skid pan as that will get the hoons off the street,” he said.

“That too would be floodlit,” he said.

  • Last Sunday's club day produced some heroics and interesting moments.

Radio personality Mark “Chooky” Edwards continued his improvement by winning all his races.

Doherty said, on the track Chooky had been unbeatable, but in the pits had lived up to his nickname.

“He was a bit of a failure at (push) starting Mark Hibble's kart,” Doherty said.

Another to impress with his technique was Buddy Hearn, who successfully got himself in a tangle, completed a 360 degree turn on the bitumen and continued racing without losing his position in the field.



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