Lismore's summertime sporting smorgasboard
This smorgasbord of sport is set to deliver the region a major financial windfall in what is otherwise one of the quietest times of the year.
The Claxton Shield is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and is taking baseball to regional areas such as Lismore where the Queensland Rams will take on the NSW Patriots at on January 2-3.
Far North Coast Baseball public relations manager Geoff Hallman said the two-game format was a major coup for region.
“It has been about the 1960s since we last had it here,” he said.
“We’ve had plenty of Australian Baseball League games, but to get this is a major coup.
“But we are one of those regions, when it comes to Australian baseball where we have a reputation that would naturally see something like this offered to us.
“The fact that it is the Claxton Shield’s 75th year, and that it is a home-and-away format (game), and the pre-cursor to a national league coming back next year, means it is a good event to get.”
The matches will be played at Albert Park and will lead into the staging of the under-15 national championships featuring eight State, regional and Territory teams.
But the menu of sporting events doesn’t end there.
Lismore has secured the Australian Super Sedan Championships which will be held at the Lismore Speedway on February 20-21.
“We applied for it about 19 months ago,” speedway promoter David Lander explained.
“It is rotated on a State-by-State basis and it is due to be held in NSW in 2009.
“I’m sure Parramatta (Speedway) would have applied for it, and probably Gilgandra, but geographically it helped us that lots of super sedan drivers live in south-east Queensland; it is a real hotbed for the sport.”
About 70 to 80 drivers are expected to attend the event, with five or six support crew in tow, and an expected crowd of about 2000 people.
Lismore City Council has provided $15,000 to help promote the event, but it should provide a major financial return to the region.
The event will also be broadcast on the Fox Sports show, Chequered Flag. “It’s like the NASCAR of Australian racing,” Lander said.
“They have an American chassis; they run on a 350 carburettor and have an engine limiter to keep the class close, so it is not the one with the most money who wins.”
And for dessert, sporting fans can look forward to the NRL pre-season clash between the Gold Coast Titans and Wests-Tigers at Oakes Oval on February 28.
There was a strong demand for tickets to the match when they went on sale yesterday.