Club reveals $320K plan to lure motorsport events to region
AFTER Cyclone Debbie washed away buildings and ripped up fences at Palmyra Dragway last year, a funding boost from the federal government has given Drag Racing Club president Glen Cunningham new hope of getting the popular venue back on track.
The Palmyra Drag Racing Club is one of two local organisation to receive a funding boost as part of the federal government's Building Better Regions Fund - Infrastructure Projects Stream.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Dawson MP George Christensen announced the funding at the dragway this morning, with $160,000 for facility upgrades at Palmyra Dragway, and $150,000 for new shooting ranges at SSAA Mackay's Brightly Complex.
Mr Cunningham said the $160,000 would form half of a $320,000 restoration project for the dragway.
Immediately after the cyclone, the club was able to reopen thanks to a crowd-funding project and a $20,000 grant from the federal government however Mr Cunningham explained larger cars have not been able to race along the whole track since the weather event, resulting in many of the state's larger drag racing event bypassing Mackay.
"The repairs we have done since (TC Debbie) have allowed us to run street cars at a quarter mile but our fast race cars still only race eight mile," Mr Cunningham said.
"What we're doing now is we're going to be able to resurface the whole track. The track itself is 29 years old, and Cyclone Debbie destroyed the bottom end of it.
"What we're going to do is lay new bitumen for the whole track, down the bottom end we will put concrete walls along the western side which will make a dam that will cyclone proof us a little bit too."
Mr Cunningham hoped once the repairs are complete, state wide events such as races by 'Nitro Cars' will return to the region.
"I think we can bring two or three thousand people into the area with a big event but we need a race surface that's got safety requirements which is what we are going to do now, we hope that by next year there will be some motor sport events heading for Mackay," he said.
"It's a cheap way of entertaining people. It costs $10 to get in and we get the support of local food vendors and local automotive business."
Meanwhile SSAA Mackay President Tony Watson said the $150,000 his club received will form half of a $300,000 project for four new gun ranges and camping grounds at the rifle, shotgun and pistol club.
"People don't realise that shooting is (among) Australia's fastest growing sports," Mr Watson said.
Mr Watson said a Junior State Championship held at the Brightly Complex last weekend saw 20 people from out of town staying in Mackay.
He hopes the new camping facilities for the complex will further increase the willingness of shooters in and around the Mackay region to make the drive out.