In front of a packed house of Victorian ANDRA and club members, CEO Malcolm Bulley delivered the news that all racers and fans were hoping to hear, drag racing is back in Melbourne, the sporting capital of Australia.
The first major event will be held on Saturday the 19th of October 2013, featuring ANDRA Championship rounds for Top Fuel, Top Bike and Pro Stock Bike.
This will be a 1 day event and entry numbers in the sportsman classes will be capped to make sure the event runs smoothly. Sunday the 20th is scheduled as a rain date.
1 to 2 test and tunes will be scheduled before the October 19 event and a number of street meets are being organised.
"Racer participation, operational integrity and presentation quality are all key factors in the path to success," said Malcolm Bulley. "It's been 12 years since ANDRA Drag Racing has been held in Melbourne and it's vitally important that we reconnect with racers and fans in a professional and positive manner."
The previous management of Calder Park have often been criticised on how drag racing events have been run. According to Malcolm Bulley, "The only similarity between the previous management and the new management is the track, everything else will change. ANDRA is bringing in best practice and the best people to ensure drag racing's return to Melbourne is a success for all the key stakeholders – spectators, the track, ANDRA, racers and sponsors."
While Malcolm Bulley didn't elaborate on who would be promoting and managing the events, he did indicate that ANDRA had formed a joint venture with a number of parties and would be playing a more active role in the running of events at Calder Park Raceway.
As a priority, safety aspects have also been addressed so that the venue meets ANDRA's requirements. "We have access to all the concrete barriers we need and work is being done to repair the return road, "said Malcolm Bulley. "Racing will be conducted over whichever is the safest distance for competitors, whether that is quarter mile, thousand foot or eighth mile."
Looking forward, after the completion of the October event, a national open style event has been pencilled in for early December. The 2014 racing calendar is being finalised and will include, as a minimum, regular street meets, 2 national championship events, the Victorian State Championships and a major event towards the end of the year.
"It's vitally important that drag racing in Melbourne is seen as a going concern, a vibrant and active sport supported by the racers and fans," said Malcolm Bulley. "Calder Park is not an indefinite home for drag racing in Melbourne. We must demonstrate through participation and stability that drag racing requires a purpose built world class facility."
With drag racing's return to Melbourne not far away, it's time for racers to get busy and fans to get excited.