30 November 2018
A First Timers Guide to the Premier Speedwayby BETHANY LEWIS
Confession: I grew up in Warrnambool and have never stepped foot inside the Premier Speedway. What could it be about those funny looking cars that make people flock to Warrnambool? What is on the other side of the big white fence?
I asked Premier Speedway Manager David Mills to explain what it is that draws crowds of over 10,000 people to the place ‘where history happens’, and what a first timer like myself needs to know.
It’s like watching fighter jets in a gymnasium.
There are only three speedway venues in the country that are rated 4.5 stars for track safety. Unlike the others in Perth and Sydney, Warrnambool is a purpose-built venue built by passionate volunteers. This track rating means Warrnambool can hold a bigger number of higher-powered vehicles. To give you an idea, the cars that race at the Premier Speedway have a better power to weight ratio than a Formula1 car. Faster than fast. They skid, they slide and sometimes they collide. If it was horse racing, the Premier Speedway is the equivariant of Flemington Race Course.
You can usually pick the first timers" Mills said, "because they turn up in white chinos.
It takes a whopping 165 truck and trailer loads of clay to pack onto the track, and as race roars the mud begins to fly. If you’re trackside the clay shower is a thrilling experience - unless you’re wearing a white ensemble - so dress to get dirty. The Speedway is an outdoor event so don’t forget your hat, sunnies and sunscreen. But this is Victoria, so pack for four seasons. Even on the hottest days, temperatures drop into the evening and you’ll thank us for packing some warm clothes. Ear and eye protection can be purchased onsite.
It’s a stampede when the gates open and everyone runs to their favourite spot, but the funny thing is, everyone’s favourite is different.
There’s no allocated seating at the Premier Speedway so it’s best to arrive early and join the queue. For the best vantage point (and to stay out of the mud zone) head to the top of the hill or ‘Mt Max’ as it’s called, named after local Speedway Legend and fan favourite Max Dumesny. From Mt Max you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the whole track. Get comfortable and take it in by bringing your own chairs or hiring a chair at the venue.
You’ve got to try our famous cinnamon donuts!
The Premier Speedway supports a number of local businesses and community groups in a number of ways. Local businesses like Fresha Fruit Juice who have been making a tasty drinks since 1988, and Chitticks Bakery who sell a range of pastries and sweet treats, but are famous for the ‘Chitticks Pie’, are some of the local food and drink on offer in the Premier Speedway Canteen. A word of warning however, when you’re walking form the canteen back to your seats you may encounter the mud shower. If you’re not interested in the extra protein it’s a good idea to cover your food while walking past the track.
You won't find a more diverse range of people than at the Speedway - everybody is welcome.
As you look around the stands at the sponsor signs you’ve got everything from chartered accountants to plumbers. In the pits you have millionaires that have never heard the word ‘no’ in their life to passionate rev heads who have maxed out their credit cards to be there. In the crowd you’ve got white-collar and blue-collar folks from all walks of life happily getting amongst it together. Above all the Speedway is a family sport where generations come to share their love of racing. The family atmosphere is electric and first timers are welcomed with open arms.
2022 will mark the 50th Grand Annual Classic race meet at the Premier Speedway, not bad for volunteer build institution. There are epic races coming up from December 14 through to Easter Sunday, including January's Classic, Australian Speedcar Championship in February and multiple nights in March before the Grand Finale on Easter Sunday!
For ticket and information head to premierspeedway.com.au