Dragstrip revved up for return

October 15, 2021 BY

Hot wheels: Mick Atkins of Kyabram with his modified LJ GTR Torana at Heathcote Raceway Regional Madness event on Saturday. Photos: BRENDAN McCARTHY

WHILE the hot rods are back burning rubber for regional participants and spectators at the Heathcote Racing Park, track owner Lance Warren said the venue won’t see a profit until people from Melbourne come out of lockdown.

HPR began its six-to-eight-month activity calendar on Saturday with the first DYO Regional Madness round, which Mr Warren said are “taster” events.

“This regional madness we’re doing now is purely for regional, just to get out in the spirit of competition,” he said.

“As soon as Melbourne can open up we’ll see the big events. We’ve got planned the Ford Nationals at the end of the year, right up to what is the pinnacle in April next year which is Top Fuel.

“Top Fuel is the pinnacle of the category in drag racing in the world, and there hasn’t been Top Fuel in Victoria or here at HPR for decades. Our goal is to get that and we’ve won the rights to run a round in April.”

HPR owner Lance Warren said events are funding significant works to the track, including extending the concrete barriers and installing safety nets.

But, to host the event, HPR is relying on funding from its current racing calendar, and money that would’ve come from the past six months of events, cancelled due to lockdowns and bad weather.

“We’ve really had it up against us, however we’ve been trying to stay positive and we’ve been using the time in lockdown to do more maintenance and works, but we rely on funding from running the events.” Mr Warren said.

“So we’ve got to now work hard for the next three to four months running events to bring the revenue in.”

Mr Warren said work that needs to be done includes an extension to the concrete barrier, net installation, repairs to the track’s return and a sealing of the entrance road.

A Holden Manaro GTS revs it engine for the crowd.

He would also like to install shade for spectators and a playground for kids.

HPR, built in 1975, is a privately-owned business purchased by Mr Warren in January. It receives no government funding.

Thirty-thousand people attended an event earlier this year and Mr Warren said when HPR is thriving the whole region benefits.

“The thousands of people that came filled the taverns, restaurants, and hotels. It’s a flow on effect for the whole region,” he said.

With a positive attitude and a dedicated team, Mr Warren is confident his vision for HPR will be achieved.

“People that know me know that we just do it, it’s no talk we just do it. We do it with no money and it’s nowhere where we want to be yet, but every cent goes back into it.”

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