Speedway Australia gives Benaraby track ‘thumbs up’
Gladstone Auto Club will have a “world class” speedway with some assistance for lighting after progress on the Benaraby track was given a massive thumbs up by Speedway Australia officials on Friday.
Plans for the $3.6 million plus facility, on Jono Porter Drive at the Benaraby Motorsports complex, were revealed in 2019, after noise and dust concerns were raised about the Gladstone Showground track.
Speedway Australia track and safety development officer, Liz Weaver, and sport development officer, Adam Brook, said they were “blown away” when they saw the progress.
The inspection followed a stop-off at the Bundaberg track by the officials, who will visit most of the speedway tracks between the sugar city and Mareeba, near Cairns.
“We’re totally impressed with what we’ve seen,” Mr Brook said.
“The venue looks like it is going to be a world class venue and it will certainly set the standard in speedway, not just in Queensland, but Australia wide.
“In the last 15 years we have not seen any new speedways built in Australia, Moama (NSW) was the last new speedway built back in the mid 2000s.
“We inspect all of the tracks around Australia annually, to check them for compliance and give them a ‘star rating’ to determine the safety of the track relative to a set of standards.
“So we thought we’d stop by Gladstone and have a look at the track under construction to see where the guys are at.”
The new track is 500 metres on the fence with a 403 metre pole line.
With a 15 metre wide track, the surface features 12.5 per cent banking start to finish.
Speedway in the region was experiencing increasing popularity and competitor numbers, Mr Brook said.
“It is exciting for us to see this new track being built, particularly in a region that is easily the hotbed of the sport in Australia at the moment, with so many major events covering both state and national titles” he said.
“The competitor base, particularly in this area of Queensland, that whole Capricornia region right the way up between Rockhampton and down to Kingaroy and Toowoomba has the largest competitor base in all of Australia.
“Now they’ve got arguably the best track in all of Australia to enjoy for many years into the future.
“It's a testament to the Gladstone Auto Club and Bob McCosker for the amazing job they’ve done.”
After providing countless hours of excavation and earthmoving, Gladstone Auto Club member Bob McCosker said the track should be operational within 12 months.
“Speedway Australia see the track as being one of the premier tracks in Australia,” he said.
“Speedway Australia said they are extremely excited to see it get up and running with it its location being in the middle of a large body of active race goers.
Mr McCosker said the club would welcome assistance to finish the facilities so it could open.
“The club would be able to get the rest of the track and facilities to an operational level, but if we got some assistance with lighting from the government it would be good,” he said.
“We have applied for a grant for lighting and we are still waiting to hear about that.”
Without the invaluable support of McCosker Contracting, Barnes Drilling, DB Customs and Whitewalling, Autobarn, Pirtek, Autographic Gladstone, The Paint Place, Butler’s Yarwun Quarries, Wholesale Paint Group, Walz Group, Autopro and Gladstone Nissan, the track would not be at the stage it’s at today.