As most of you would know there is no instruction manual on how to build a drag track but in August 2014 the Swan Hill Drag Racing Club along with the Swan Hill Rural City Council started the mammoth task. Two million from the state government rural development fund, $450,000 budgeted by the SHRCC and $220,000 of in kind works by the SHDRC, together our priority was to construct the best racing surface possible. All available funds were directed into the track itself on the idea that the rest of the infrastructure will develop as the club runs events. In saying that, there a few items that are a necessity in running a drag racing event.
As of March 2016, the SHDRC is still waiting handover of the site from the SHRCC as it really is still a construction site until the completion of their budgeted works. The track itself has been all but complete since before Christmas but the SHDRC had a few concerns about some of the finishes and the council are trying to have them all completed by Easter. The council then needs their works inspected and signed off by ANDRA. Yes ANDRA. Through 8 years of planning between the Club and the Council, ANDRA has been involved with us the whole way. ANDRA will conduct the inspection and safety audit on the work by the council so they can hand over the site to the SHDRC. But that doesn’t mean we are open for business just yet. There is more to a drag racing venue then just a track, return road and concrete walls.
What’s left to do, and can you help?
2 kilometres of spectator fencing has been kindly donated by local business BR & C and will be one of the first jobs completed once we are back in control. Crucial things missing are probably the most needed things to run an event. Timing system and Control tower are still on our too buy list. These are big dollar items and the SHDRC are in need of help. Items like power, toilets and catering can be outsourced and trucked in, but we hope to have our own equipment installed. To help make this come true the SHDRC are starting two unique fundraising opportunities that will not only get the attention of the general public but also the racer involved and influence how the track will be completed. First we will be selling 30 only Life Passes which will get yourself and one other in as a spectator to any event at the Swan Hill Dragway forever. Second will be Crowed funding, we are calling for donations of any amount. These funds raised will go directly into the facility namely a timing system and control tower. If we raise more than is needed, it will go towards the next item. The SHDRC is a not for profit club and any money that is made or donated to the club goes directly into the facility for you all to use.
The second biggest question being asked is who will the Swan Hill Dragway be sanctioned under? Firstly, the SHDRC has been in constant communication with ANDRA and are both aware of the needs of both parties. ANDRA has visited the site during different stages of construction and as said earlier are booked to come and inspect and conduct the safety audit. The SHDRC has also met with Maurice Allan, CEO of the Australian Profession Drag Racers Association, and have discussed the 400 Thunder series. Maurice has visited Swan Hill and walked around the facility and voiced the track is well up to the standards the 400 Thunder series would like to race on.
Our focus is on completing the track and getting it ready to race, and when the club feels the decision has to be made once we are close to opening all members will vote on the best direction for the Swan Hill Dragway. We didn’t know when we started building that we would be making this kind of decision. Swan Hill Dragway invites all forms of drag racing on offer in this country and this is why we have worked so hard to produce a world class racing surface. Who are we to dictate who can and can not come to race at our track? Also this track was built on a promise to the State Government to bring group one championship racing to Swan Hill and everything that comes with it. Sportsman is also a major part of a successful track and we recognize your involvement is a major part of drag racing and look forward to your frequent visits to our town and track. We want Drag Racing in Australia to grow and flourish into the sport we all know and want it to be.
Friday, April 24, 2015 12:45:48 PM
The Swan Hill Drag racing club has come a long way since reforming in 2007 with the intention of building a little self-funded club run 1/8th mile drag track. Little did we know that 8 years later we would now be months away from opening our still club run fully sanctioned national ¼ mile.
With securing the promised $2 million dollars from then winning Coalition state government out of Rural Development Victoria’s regional growth fund and $450,000 of contribution from the Swan Hill Rural City Council (SHRCC) in August 2014, it has been full steam ahead constructing the ¼ mile. With the club accepting a generous donation from local business’ Murray Valley Lasers and Graders & Chisholm Earthmoving, the club were able to provide an estimated $70,000 worth of work getting the whole site for the track level ready for the tendered contractors to start construction. As well as building a 200mtr long by 3mtr high spectator mound on the west side of the track.
As with most plans they change and our project is no different. Once we knew we had funding, our plan was to provide Swan Hill with the best racing surface possible. All focus was on getting a full ¼ mile of concrete, yes Australia’s first full concrete track. Due to budget restrictions, we had to sacrifice our initial plans of 402mtrs (1/4 mile) of concrete to 300mtrs, just shy of the 1000ft mark. This sacrifice made worthwhile by now allowing us to have full concrete walls the length of the primary breaking area and also allowing for timing systems. Delivering a fully functional drag track for only $2.5 million roughly within 12 months of starting was always a tall ask and the SHDRC has been realistic with what we can and cannot do. We are doing the best with what we have but we are not cutting corners with the racing surface. There is still a lot the SHDRC has to complete once the major construction of the track is concluded before we can put a car down the strip.
With funding through our own members, we have been able to go one more step better improving our track we believe, with now making provisions to run a heating/cooling system through the first 120mtrs of the racing surface down the centre grove in both lanes. With many hours of research done by local Electricians and Air Conditioning specialist McKenzie Electrical we were able to engineer and source materials to make it happen. This is a major investment the club has undertaken and we believe once it is operational, it will allow us to provide a consistent track despite the weather conditions. It will also allow us in Swan Hill to expand our projected racing calendar further then first projected due to our favourable climate. At this stage it will not be operating straight away once the track is open but it had to happen now because once the concrete is poured, there was no way of making it happen.
The August 2015 completion date stated by the National Party leader Mr Peter Ryan unfortunately has been pushed back to November/December 2015 due to scheduling and climate issues regarding the asphalt components of the build. While this is a blow, it is also a good thing allowing the SHDRC more time to get our jobs done like more lawn established in the pit area, control tower and toilet blocks to name a few. The SHDRC is always looking for help whether it is by becoming a member, donating goods or services or buying a t-shirt. We appreciate any help you can give us and we will strive to repay you with a great show on race day.
Construction of a ¼ mile drag racing track at the Chisholm Reserve Motor Sports Complex near Swan Hill is set to begin, with the Victorian Coalition Government giving the much-anticipated project the green light.
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Member for Swan Hill Peter Walsh in Swan Hill today to announce the Coalition Government would invest $2 million to redevelop the Chisholm Reserve Motor Sports Complex.
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s investment in the $2.45 million Chisholm Reserve Motor Sports Complex Redevelopment Project would be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Mr Ryan said construction would begin over the coming months and be completed by August 2015.
The project will involve construction of a nationally accredited ¼ mile drag racing track, as well as the development of braking areas, a return road, staging area, pit area, drainage, and concrete safety barriers.
“The Chisholm Reserve Motor Sports Complex will host up to five drag racing meetings per year at the new facility, including one national event, as a direct result of this investment,” Mr Ryan said.
“The development of a ¼ mile drag racing track at Swan Hill fills a gap in the national drag racing circuit and will enable the Swan Hill Drag Racing Club to attract top-flight drag racing events to Swan Hill.
“The new track is expected to attract an additional 16,000 people per year to the region, injecting more than $2 million into the local economy.”
Member for Swan Hill Peter Walsh welcomed the investment, which was an important 2010 election commitment. “Today is a great day for Swan Hill and the local motorsports community,” Mr Walsh said.
“Swan Hill has waited a long time for this drag racing track and following all necessary preliminary works I am pleased to say the funding is now available and construction can begin. “Chisholm Reserve is currently home to a speedway, motor cross track, go kart racing and short track dirt races, and the development of a drag racing track will mean this facility becomes one of the premiere motorsport precincts in northern Victoria.”
Mr Walsh paid credit to the Swan Hill Drag Racing Club for its commitment towards this project, and thanked the club for its almost $220,000 worth of in-kind investment in construction and operations of the new track. Mr Walsh also thanked the Swan Hill Rural City Council, which contributed $450,000 to the total project cost.
August 9, 2013 6:54:22 PM
The Multi-Million Swan Hill Drag racing facility appears to be in the home-stretch, with enthusiasts urging council and wider community to get it over the finish line.
Five years since it was identified as a priority in Swan Hill Rural City Council's community meetings, council is now preparing an application for $2 million in funding previously promised from the Victorian Coalition.
Together with about $450,000 from council and other local in-kind and financial support, the current plan is for a $3 million nationally-accredited quarter-mile track to be built.
In future it is hoped the track would be upgraded to a 'Motorsport complex' — including grandstands and administration buildings — totalling about $6 million, through Federal funding or corporate support.
Swan Hill Drag Racing president Gary Rovere said he recently received written assurances that a national event would be staged at the track.
"It's going to be included on the national calendar the instant a completion date is on the track," he said.
With this in mind, and a groundswell of public support shown in the community and social media, Mr Rovere said there was now increased pressure on council to finish the crucial funding application.
"Timelines are getting very crucial now, and the community should know it's now up to council to get the documentation in," he said.
"The process was voted through council to go ahead in February, so it's now August and they still haven't made the application."
For more of this story, see Friday's Swan Hill Guardian (August 9).
March 27, 2013 6:54:22 PM
PRE-development work is revving up for a national standard drag racing facility at Chisholm Reserve.
Swan Hill Rural City Councillors voted this week to support amended plans to rezone a parcel of council-owned land — adjacent to the Chisholm Reserve Motor Sports complex — from a farming zone to a special use zone.
The council will now seek authorisation from the Minister for Planning to re-zone the land, which will be followed by a public exhibition period of 30 days.
Re-zoning the land is the final step before council puts forward an application to the State Government for a grant of $2 million, which was a pre-election promise of the State Government, subject to a viable business case being made.
Mayor Les McPhee said re-zoning the land would provide a pathway to seamless development when funds became available, despite the fact that funds had not yet been secured.
For more on this story, see Friday's edition of The Guardian (22/3/13).
Photography Credit to Australian National Drag Racing Association and SHDRC Members