Great turn out for raceway opening
THE vision of one day having a motor sports track right here in the Whitsundays became a reality on Sunday.
More than 1000 people turned out for the official opening of the Whitsunday Raceway and Driver Education Training Facility in Proserpine.
Whitsunday Motosports Club has been working on the idea of having their own track in the region for six years and club president Andrew Auld said he was more than happy to see the track open and ready for racing.
"I'm pretty happy and chuffed about it all," he said.
"It was overwhelming the response we had out there.
"I thought we'd create that much interest."
Go-karters, motorcycle riders and motorsports enthusiasts came from right across the state to see what the new track has to offer.
The powers-that-be of Australian motorsports who attended the official opening of the raceway on Sunday said the track was a great asset to the sport.
Among them was former world supersports champion Chris Vermeulen who was more than impressed with the track.
All spectators' eyes were on Vermeulen as he rode the first laps around the new track.
The strong crowd was also exposed to demonstrations from all forms of motorsports vehicles, from drift cars to road bikes, go-karts and supermotard bikes.
WMC publicity officer James Dwight said the club expected about 300 people to turn up for the opening.
He said the opening overcame all of his expectations, despite the, at times, inclement weather.
"I was absolutely over the moon at the public response for the new facility," he said.
"It was fantastic to see so many families come out there to have a look and the whole day had a family feel to it.
"We received so many enquiries from people wanting to know how they could get involved in motorsports, especially for juniors. That's what it's all about."
WHAT THEY SAID
General manager of Motorcycling Queensland - Lindsay Granger - The track is a great effort by a dedicated group. The track lived up to it's predictions that it was a good track to ride on.
Former world supersports champion - Chris Vermeulen - It's exciting for Queensland, North Queensland and this area in particular. There's not a lot of these tracks in the country. The more places like this the brighter the future is for the kids. This is going to be a breeding ground.
German 125cc MotoGP champion - Jack Miller - The track was good. It's really well set up. Compared to anything else [tracks] up here in the north, it's a lot better. There's not many good tracks up here.
Whitsunday Motosports Club president - Andrew Auld - I'm pretty happy and chuffed about it all. They were extremely impressed with the track. I never thought we'd create that much interest.
Whitsunday Motosports Club publicity officer - James Dwight - At last the region has got a high class motorsports facility that has a track that might not be as big as Eastern Creek or Phillip Island, but would provide an opportunity for many youngsters to come to ride and train there without having to travel interstate.
Member for Whitsunday - Jan Jarratt - This track will cater to a diverse range of motorsports including go-karting, motorcycle road racing, quad bike racing and supermotard racing. This facility means better access for locals who would otherwise have to travel up to 400km to participate in motorsports.
Whitsunday Regional Council mayor - Mike Brunker - I think it will be a great asset to the whole Whitsunday region. The fact that it can do driver education training as well is just great.
Motorsports enthusiast - Tony Large - It's a great facility. It's good for our youth. It's just good to see that the generation growing up now has access to it. The biggest effort however, for this world class recreational and training facility goes to Andrew Auld and his committee and supporters for their energy, enthusiasm, dedication and vision that has given so much to our community.