Swan Hill Drag Racing Club Vice President Lucas Woodburn shares an update on the progress of the brand new race track under construction at the exisiting motorsport facility at Chisholm Reserve in Swan Hill, Victoria.
The Swan Hill Drag Cacing club has come a long way since reforming in 2007 with the intention of building a little self-funded club run 1/8th mile drag track. Little did we know that 8 years later we would now be months away from opening our still club run fully sanctioned national 1/4 mile.
With securing the promised $2 million dollars from then winning Coalition state government out of Rural Development Victoria’s regional growth fund and $450,000 of contribution from the Swan Hill Rural City Council (SHRCC) in August 2014, it has been full steam ahead constructing the 1/4 mile. With the club accepting a generous donation from local business’ Murray Valley Lasers and Graders & Chisholm Earthmoving, the club were able to provide an estimated $70,000 worth of work getting the whole site for the track level ready for the tendered contractors to start construction. As well as building a 200 metre long by 3 metre high spectator mound on the west side of the track.
As with most plans they change and our project is no different. Once we knew we had funding, our plan was to provide Swan Hill with the best racing surface possible. All focus was on getting a full 1/4 mile of concrete, yes Australia’s first full concrete track. Due to budget restrictions, we had to sacrifice our initial plans of 402mtrs (1/4 mile) of concrete to 300mtrs, just shy of the 1000ft mark. This sacrifice made worthwhile by now allowing us to have full concrete walls the length of the primary breaking area and also allowing for timing systems. Delivering a fully functional drag track for only $2.5 million roughly within 12 months of starting was always a tall ask and the SHDRC has been realistic with what we can and cannot do. We are doing the best with what we have but we are not cutting corners with the racing surface. There is still a lot the SHDRC has to complete once the major construction of the track is concluded before we can put a car down the strip.
With funding through our own members, we have been able to go one more step better improving our track we believe, with now making provisions to run a heating/cooling system through the first 120mtrs of the racing surface down the centre grove in both lanes. With many hours of research done by local Electricians and Air Conditioning specialist McKenzie Electrical we were able to engineer and source materials to make it happen. This is a major investment the club has undertaken and we believe once it is operational, it will allow us to provide a consistent track despite the weather conditions. It will also allow us in Swan Hill to expand our projected racing calendar further then first projected due to our favourable climate. At this stage it will not be operating straight away once the track is open but it had to happen now because once the concrete is poured, there was no way of making it happen.
The August 2015 completion date stated by the National Party leader Mr Peter Ryan unfortunately has been pushed back to November/December 2015 due to scheduling and climate issues regarding the asphalt components of the build. While this is a blow, it is also a good thing allowing the SHDRC more time to get our jobs done like more lawn established in the pit area, control tower and toilet blocks to name a few. The SHDRC is always looking for help whether it is by becoming a member, donating goods or services or buying a t-shirt. We appreciate any help you can give us and we will strive to repay you with a great show on race day.