Formula 500 driver runs on adrenaline
IMAGINE being strapped into a tiny, lightweight vehicle just centimetres above the ground hurtling around a dirt track full of deadly divots at 130 kilometres an hour.
Imagine doing that with limited visibility under lights, surrounded by 20 other cars, all fighting for position and the best racing line. For most of us, that would be a terrifying experience and one we'll most likely never encounter.
For local Formula 500 driver, Adrian 'AJ' Josefski it's something he lives for and this weekend's 2015 Australian Formula 500 Championships at Rockhampton Speedway represent the perfect opportunity for him to test his driving courage, commitment and concentration against the best F500 drivers in Australia.
"I grew up around the speedway," AJ said.
"My grandfather, father and uncle all raced F500 so I've been around it all my life."
Racing competitively for nine years, AJ says adrenaline, not fear, is what drives him.
"You don't have time to be scared," AJ explained.
"It all goes too fast. It's a massive adrenaline rush. You are out of one corner and into the next and they are all different every time. You just concentrate hard, busy working on setting up your best possible lines around the track."
A major attraction for speedway racing fans are the crashes, with cars flipping and flying through the air in all directions. AJ's been there and done that. The fact he's still here to talk about proves the safety of the sport.
"It is really safe," AJ confirmed.
"I had a major crash there last year, where I flipped it. The strong roll cages and all the safety gear are the same as V8 super cars and Formula 1, so it works."
So much so that AJ and his crew rebuilt his car and he raced again later that night.
The Rockhampton speedway is 460 metres long and the lap record is 12.5 seconds. With 47 of Australia's best drivers vying for the F500 national title this weekend, the record might not last long. It's the first time the Australian F500 Championships have been held in Rockhampton, so there's a good chance it will fall.
Local sponsor of the national titles, Don McLeod from Rocky Resort Motor Inn, Cloud 9 - Gourmet Heaven said it was fantastic opportunity for the region.
"It's a great event for Rockhampton, because the Australian F500 titles will attract nearly 50 of the top drivers from all over Australia," McLeod said.
"Each driver also brings their support crew so it boosts the local economy."
The Rockhampton Showgrounds will come to life Saturday night for the opening round of the National Championships. from 4pm.
Meet the drivers, check out the cars
You can meet some of Australia's top F500 drivers and check out their machines on Saturday, 10am to midday at Rocky Resort Motor, 174 Gladstone Rd.
The 2015 Australian F500 Championships heats will be held on Saturday night, the finals on Sunday night.
Support races include Super Stockers (Saturday), CQ Fender Bender Title (Sunday) and CQ Junior Sedan Title (both nights). Gates open 4pm, racing action starts at 4.30pm