Farewell Letter from Brad Miocevich
As we are now at the end of our time as the operator and promoter of Drag Racing and Speedway here in the West, I feel compelled to write to you all on behalf of the Miocevich family to say farewell and thank you.
The Ravenswood Years
It was many years ago in 1982 when my late brother Gary Miocevich lead myself and my other brother, Mark, on an amazing journey. Along with Kevin Prendergast and the Collings brothers, Ross and Peter, we negotiated to purchase the Ravenswood Raceway. I remember clearly as a 21-year-old sitting in front of the local bank manager after applying for a $10,000 personal loan. I can hear his words ringing in my ears, ‘It’s a pie in the sky, boys’. But for us, it was our passion and something we just had to do. A change of banks delivered the funds and then for the next few years, weekends were spent labouring at Ravenswood with a band of loyal supporters.
Ravenswood, like many early drag racing facilities was very basic, lacking many of the safety features that we now take for granted. Under the leadership of Kevin Prendergast, we built a spectator mound and grandstands, improved the parking and planted lawns. Kevin even managed to get Osram Lighting to sponsor us with some new lights and found some second hand light poles. With the help of many of the early drag racers, we installed the lighting for the length of the ¼ mile; it was good luck and best wishes however in the braking area.
Ravenswood Raceway in its heyday just prior to closing due to rezoning of the adjacent land.
Claremont Speedway and the Relocation
By the 1990’s residential development was encroaching on the land surrounding Ravenswood Raceway, and as we have seen on many similar occasions, being well established and away from others, doesn’t guarantee one’s survival.
Gary (pictured above with Con Migro) had other plans, and with dogged determination and all the cunning of a chook house fox, he finally got the Western Australian Government to agree in writing to relocate our sport should the proposed rezoning of land occur, which it did. At a similar time, Claremont Speedway, after nearly 100 years was also being evicted and needed a new home. A joint Claremont/Ravenswood business model was far more likely to succeed, so now with Con Migro on board, the push was on to ensure the Government honoured its relocation commitment.
Gary was fascinated by the ancient Roman sporting arena, Circus Maximus, and how it had been the centrepiece of chariot racing for more than 400 years. It was from here, and from visiting many US motorsport facilities, that the Perth Motorplex design evolved. Gary was passionate about how the new home of drag racing and speedway should be built and worked closely with the government design team
Gary’s personal racing experience also proved to be a key ingredient. The drag racing surface had the maximum allowable downslope, a rise after the finish line to help settle the vehicles as their parachutes were deployed and then a gentle fall to assist vehicle run off. Every aspect was carefully planned. On the Speedway, Gary consulted with top speedway drivers including Gavin Migro to ensure the optimal track size and corner banking. The pits layout, the staging lanes, the famous Snake Pit burnout area and a return road running right in front of the crowd; nothing was left to chance. The result, the finest and safest drag racing and speedway facility in Australia with many visiting US based racers placing it in the top handful in the world. The design was considered so good that it was used as the basis for the new Sydney Dragway.
Staff and Volunteers
Having a great facility is nothing if you don’t have great people to operate it. We have been blessed with the services of many volunteers and part time staff who come along every meeting driven by their passion for our sports. Many people simply don’t understand that it is our very own track staff and officials who ensure the safe running of our facility.
Thanks to their advice and input, we continue to enhance the safety features of the Motorplex. To all of you, I give you my sincere thanks. You have allowed us all to enjoy racing together in a safe and fun environment.
To our full time staff, I also offer my sincere thanks. To Gavin Migro, for his many years of steady stewardship over the speedway business, and Rod Britton, who has run the drag racing side of things. To all of our office, production, ticketing and ground staff, thank you for your attention to detail. Running a motorsports complex is often just that, complex, and you have all done a great job.
To our long term General Manager, Kevin Prendergast, I offer my sincere gratitude. When the Board had to make difficult decisions, it was often Kevin who had to deliver the message and make it work. This has been made even harder over recent times and I respect the calm and professional approach that Kevin applied to all aspects of his job. Many are simply not aware of the role Kevin has played from the 1970’s in keeping the sport of drag racing going. From sitting around the kitchen table with the late John Taverna mapping out a financial plan to save ANDRA in the early 80’s, to being a partner with us in the acquisition of Ravenswood. Everyone involved in our sports owes Kevin a debt for his enthusiasm and propensity for hard work.
John Day – The end of an era
I was also saddened to hear of the passing yesterday of our Speedway icon, 'The General' John Day. A truly remarkable man who has been an integral part of our sport for so many years. His smile and colourful flag waving will remain in our memories forever. Our thoughts and best wishes are with John’s family and all of the John Day crew. An end of an era in many ways.
John Day and Gavin Migro
I would also like to acknowledge the professional manner in which VenuesWest has handled the tendering for the Licence agreement along with our unexpected withdrawal from the process. David Etherton and Colin Brandis have been great supporters of the Motorplex and their decision to take over the venue management in the short term should be applauded by all. I would encourage everyone to put aside any self-interest and support their decisions for the benefit of all.
Over the years we have forged close relationships and friendships with our loyal sponsors and suppliers. From the very smallest sole traders to large multinationals, we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship build on respect and trust. Some have been with us since the Ravenswood days and have always supported us through thick and thin.
Finally, I come to the band of passionate racers from both speedway and drag racing. You have demonstrated time and time again, your comradery and sense of fair play. The racing is always competitive yet friendly with many of us forging lifelong friendships. May you all live long and race hard.
Not being able to continue in our current role has been both difficult and disappointing for our family. Like all of you, we remain passionate about our sports and wish you all the best for the future.
MURRAY BRIDGE SPEEDWAY ANNOUNCES ULTIMATE SEASON OF SPEEDWAY FOR EVERYONE
Official release: Murray Machining & Sheds Speedway
June 27, 2016
The complete schedule for Season 2016/2017 at Murray Machining & Sheds Speedway has been unveiled and it reveals a huge variety of competition for a wide range of classes.
Whilst there is plenty of attention focused on the inaugural Ultimate Sprintcar Championship (USC) South Australia and the historic three rounds of World Series Sprintcars the spotlight is also rightfully shining on (in no particular order) Speedcars, Super Sedans, Formula 500’s, 360ci Sprintcars, AMCA Nationals, Junior Sedans, Modified Sedans, V8 Dirt Modifieds, Street Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Late Models, Modlites, V6 Sprints, Legend Cars, Demolition Derbies and Burnouts.
“This season is a fantastic showcase of Australian Speedway,” says MMS Speedway Track Manager Tim McAvaney, “there’s plenty of variety, plenty of blue-ribbon events and plenty of track championship battles at each of our events. There really is something for members, fans and racers alike.”
Each class has its crowning jewel event during the season.
Australian Championships are scheduled for Formula 500’s (Easter weekend April 14/15) and Modified Sedans (April 28/29) with cracking fields and many local favourites expected for the respective weekends.
Speedcars will celebrate the memory of one of the sport’s most promising young talents with the Tim Crouch Memorial and the prestigious Speedcar Super Series will be typically spectacular.
360ci Sprintcars will be hectic with the return once more of the Mainline Dynalog Dynamometers All Stars Series.
Some 20 nights of competition across the range of disciplines will be held at Murray Machining & Sheds Speedway including State Titles for V8 Dirt Modifieds, Super Sedans, Speedcars, Modified Sedans (and Ultimate Sprintcars) plus Formula 500 King of the Bridge and 65 Roses races, the MJS Street Stock Series and the V6 Sprints Des James Memorial to name a few.
Late Model Sedans will also be involved in some unique new initiatives.
There’s a refreshing range of fan-friendly concepts including “Ultimate Pink Night” (where women of all ages are admitted free and fundraising is in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation) “Ultimate Kids Night”, “Ultimate Footy Fan Night”, “The Big Skid” Burnout night and much more.
The memories of two late South Australian legends will once again be honoured with the “Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge” and the “Ross Wright Memorial” for USC Sprintcars.
Saturday, January 7 is a date to mark down with some heavy hitter USA Ultimate Sprintcar drivers take on the SA and interstate heroes whilst November 12, December 27 and February 4 will delight World Series Sprintcars followers with a landmark three appearances.
Grand Opening Night of the season will be held on Sunday, October 2 with the 360ci Sprintcar Shootout and a PRACTICE for Ultimate Sprintcars where the big guns of USC SA use the event as a shakedown for the following weekend’s first USC round on October 8.
Grand Final Night will be Saturday, April 29 with the final night of the 2017 Australian Modified Sedan Championship.
For more information on the action at Murray Machining & Sheds (MMS) Speedway visit www.murraybridgespeedway.com.au and https://www.facebook.com/MurrayBridgeSpeedway/
48 NIGHTS OF USC COMPETITION UNVEILED IN 2016/2017 ULTIMATE SPRINTCAR SEASON
Official release: Ultimate Sprintcar Championship
June 14, 2016
48 nights of competition held across four different States and Speedways will be the staple diet for Ultimate Sprintcar Championship fans in 2016/2017.
The wraps were taken off the historic 2nd season for the USC today as Steven Green unveiled the almost 50-night schedule.
“The speed at which the USC has grown in stature and in support from teams and fans alike almost matches that of the cars themselves,” Green smiled, “to see some 48 different nights of USC competition between Sydney, Toowoomba, Warrnambool and now Murray Bridge is tremendous. It makes for a very exciting 2016/2017.”
The second “Ultimate Season” comprises 24 USC nights for Valvoline Raceway Sydney, 8 USC nights at Hi-Tec Oils Speedway Toowoomba, 9 USC nights at Premier Speedway Warrnambool and 8 USC nights at Murray Machining & Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway.
“Despite the fact that we have four tracks operating independently with their own schedules it’s remarkable how little we have USC date double-ups,” explains Green, “we’ve tried to minimize double stacking for teams and fans alike as much as possible.”
“New kid on the block” Murray Bridge in South Australia is elated to become part of the USC revolution.
“It’s an exciting time for Murray Bridge but for South Australian Speedway in general,” says MMS Murray Bridge Speedway Manager Tim McAvaney, “the expectation is building daily in SA. We can’t wait for the first night on October 8 which coincides with the Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge.”
OPENING NIGHTS OF USC NSW, QLD, SA:
The first night of USC Queensland will be held at Hi-Tec Oils Speedway Toowoomba on Saturday night, September 24.
The first night of USC NSW will be held at Valvoline Raceway Parramatta on Saturday night, October 1.
The first night of USC SA will be held at Murray Bridge Speedway on Saturday, October 8.
The first night of USC Victoria will be held at Premier Speedway Warrnambool on Saturday night, November 5.
The “Chase” Series will kick off at Murray Bridge on Saturday, March 11 and will be followed by the second round the night after at Premier Speedway Warrnambool on Sunday night, March 12.
Rd 1 Murray Bridge March 11
Rd 2 Warrnambool March 12
Rd 3 Parramatta March 18
Rd 4 Toowoomba March 25
Rd 5 Parramatta April 1
Rd 6 Parramatta April 8
FINAL ROUNDS OF USC SA, NSW, QLD AND VIC:
SA Murray Bridge March 11
NSW Parramatta April 8
QLD Toowoomba Easter Friday, April 14
VIC Warrnambool Easter Sunday April 16
The 55th SCCA Australian Sprintcar Championship and the inaugural USC “Origin of Speed” held at Valvoline Raceway will also be qualifiers for “The Chase”.
“It’s going to be an amazing year for fans, teams and sponsors alike,” grins Steven Green, “there’s no way you wouldn’t consider this the ULTIMATE year for a Sprintcar fan.”