DRC’s Willowbank Walk-A-Bout!

By:       Bruce Biegler

DragRaceCanada had the immense pleasure of heading “down under” during the month of October.  During our fabulous one month visit to Australia one of the many highlights we did experience was a visit to fabled Willowbank Raceway located near Ipswich, QLD…..

Willowbank's Manager Peter Bevan (left) was a gracious host. (Photo by: Grasshopper)

While the timing of our trip this time was technically the off-season for the top level of the ANDRA Pro Drag Racing series scene, we were still graciously hosted by Willowbank’s Operations Manager Peter Bevan, who took DragRaceCanada on an extensive and personal tour of the facility.  During that we reviewed some of its very storied history.  (It was awesome — Thanks again Peter!)

Willowbank Raceway is during 2010 celebrating it’s 25th year of operations, after first opening for business back in 1985.   The facility which houses multiple Motorsports applications overall does, simply put, exceed in size and stature most of the racing tracks we have in Canada and the drag strip is probably unrivaled as Australia’s most famous.  Willowbank’s excellent quarter-mile surface has produced the quickest and fastest runs ever on Australian soil and it’s 4-day Castrol Edge Winternationals (held each June) is the marquee event of the entire drag racing season for the ANDRA drag racing series.

Peter did divulge that there are some major league improvements coming to the facility for 2011 – not the least of which will be an entire overhaul of the drag strip’s top end shutdown area.  Currently the shutdown area is sloped downhill going away, and that has made for some exciting (and potentially dangerous) situations for modern day high performance Australian drag racers.  That situation will be rectified come mid 2011 when a significant amount of earth will be moved in to raise the entire shut down surface.

DragRaceCanada is priming itself for a return trip to Willowbank Raceway at some point in the future – hopefully again in 2011.  We do recommend for any Canadian or North American racing fans planning trips to the Brisbane area of Australia that they would be well advised to co-ordinate their trips to include the track’s racing schedule.  

 For more information on Willowbank Raceway visit:   www.willowbankraceway.com.au

After visiting Willowbank, DragRaceCanada did head up along the Australian Eastern coast and while doing so we stuck our heads in at a couple more very interesting and very unique facilities.    In Central Queensland we stopped off at Benaraby Raceway (Gladstone QLD) and then further north in Queensland at Townsville Dragway (Townsville QLD).

Links to the websites for those track are here: Benaraby – www.Benarabyraceway.com and Townsville – www.TownsvilleDragway.com

To visit DragRaceCanada’s photo essay from our 2010 Australian Drag Racing “walk-a-bout” click:  HERE