Thousands flock to drag races
SMOKING rubber and petrol fumes filled the air as thousands rocked up for the inaugural Casino Drag Races on Saturday.
While organisers had planned for 500 spectators, early estimates suggest 5000 turned up to see 120 sanctioned amateur competitors test their skills over a one-eighth mile drag strip at the airport.
Drivers from P-platers to pensioners took to the track in a motley assortment of vehicles – including everything from a little Daihatsu Charade to fully-worked hot rods.
David Roots and eight of his mates finished their Mini Minor entry in his Woodburn shed at 1.30 that morning.
Somehow they crammed in a 351 V8 – leaving little room for anything else.
When he popped the bonnet both guards came with it exposing a massive block from an old F100 ambulance.
“We still had the head off and valves out at 11.30 last night. We tested it with a few skids in the shed, then loaded her up and came straight here,” he said, adding he was looking for a new missus.
The usually laconic organiser, David Lander, was grinning ear to ear through the deafening din on the starting line as he threw the sceptics a few broadsides yesterday.
“We’re not the chardonnay set here – this is a blue-collar sport and the people are lapping it up,” he said.
“I’m happy,” he grinned.
“The crowd is happy, the competitors are happy, and the sponsors are happy.
“This is good for Casino and good for the economy.
“Look at them – it’s mum, dad and the kids out there sitting in the sun having a great time. They’ve been no trouble – the cops were worried about alcohol but security tells me the average esky only had six beers, six cokes for the kids and a chook in it.”
Mr Lander said it only took half the expected time to run through the 120 competitors.
“Some of these blokes are now on their fifth or sixth run,” he said.
“It’s a success in my eyes – I can’t see why we can’t go again next year.”