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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Drag Racing at Motorplex, Perth

Names like funny cars, door slammers, top door, super street and nitro meant nothing to me until a friend invited me along to my first ever drag racing event at Perth Motorplex. Having never been to a drag race before, I was looking forward to attending. It is always an experience to try something you have never done before.

Arriving before the races started was a great opportunity to head down to the pit area. This behind the scenes area is where the cars and bikes are made race ready. The public are very welcome to come along and get up close and personal with the drivers and their crew. This is a great opportunity to see the cars, their interiors and what goes into getting them ready.

I am very uneducated about different types of cars performances etc. I do know that there were some beautiful looking and extremely powerful machines there. Some classics and some futuristic looking.

Granddad Kevin had brought his two grandsons Kalais (4) and Kassius (3) along for the day. The boys had broad smiles that lit up their faces when they were allowed to sit inside the car. They were also excited when they were given a poster each and some lollies (sweets). Driver Pino Prioli happily posed for photos with the boys.

The crew and drivers said that they loved seeing the kids enjoying the day as they remembered when they were young and would get just as jubilant. They love to encourage the public to come and visit them in the pit area as they are racing for their fans in addition to racing for prize money. They also said they love to see fans wearing their branded team t-shirts, especially the youngsters. Plus, they were all happy to pose for photos!

There was an evident camaraderie between the racers, they were joking and teasing each other. You could see there was real friendships here. Chatting with crew members, they said while they loved the thrill of winning, getting ready was just as good. They need to keep fine tuning the cars between races as bits and pieces can come loose. In the pit area, every time a car would rev its engine the crowd would stand around and watch. This is when 3,000 horsepower of engine roars at you, and to get up close thrills the spectators.

When they race, the first thing you hear are engines roaring, then you smell the rubber burning as the cars get ready to race. Smoke pours from spinning tyres. When the nitro cars race, you can feel the vehicle vibrations through your body as the seats hum beneath you. The engines rev harder waiting for the green light to go, then they rocket forward. Yours eye rush to follow their fast speeds to the finish line. This is fun to watch.

In a few seconds it is all over, and all eyes watch the score board for the time and speed of both vehicles, the winner highlighted in green. This is a 400 metre (1/4 mile) and speeds varied from 100kph to 410 kph and times from 8 seconds to 5.7 seconds.

Sitting behind me was a family, mum, dad and 2 children. The father told me he owned a VFSS 2017 V8, the last of the Australian build V8’s. He loves cars so much he named their children Cruz (11) and Calais (8). The family love the freedom of the event and found it relaxing. They said they could be themselves here and enjoy the event as a family. Cruz wants to be a drag racer when he is older. This is an day that you can bring children to. It is safe and they enjoy the noise, speed and excitement. For them it isn’t about the winner, it is about the event.

People can bring their own food and drinks from home into the venue. There was also food venues available here including a bbq smokehouse, chicken, drinks, ice-creams and coffee.

As the night crept in, large spotlights kept the area brightly lit for the second part of the event. A large video screen shows replays of races, interviews with the drivers and crew members, and behind the scenes footage of pit action and vehicle repairs. This was a good way to learn more about the intricacies of the sport and the terminology. I learnt to use the word "candles" instead of "those flame thingies that shoot out of the car."

I really enjoyed the entire day. Everyone was super friendly and enthusiastic. For a newbie, I felt very welcomed and total strangers were happy to answer my questions. This is definitely a sport that encompasses all your senses and is a great experience. I am happy that I tried something new. Thanks for inviting me along Wayne.

Happy Travels!

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