SUPER SEDANS: Local driver Damien Arnold will race in only his second super sedan showdown on Saturday, while fellow Rocky racer Darren Saunders (inset) has seven years’ experience.
SUPER SEDANS: Local driver Damien Arnold will race in only his second super sedan showdown on Saturday, while fellow Rocky racer Darren Saunders (inset) has seven years’ experience. Allan Reinikka Rokaspdway

Nationals held in Rockhampton first time in over a decade

ROCKHAMPTON'S standing as a premier venue for speedway in Queensland continues to climb.

The Rockhampton Showgrounds will host the Super Sedan Australian Championship over Easter, the first time the national championships have been held in Rocky for more than a decade.

But the speedway is set to sizzle before then - the Super Sedan Smack Down takes place this Saturday as round 7 of the Queensland series.

And 28 drivers have nominated, including three former Australian championship winners and the present Australian champion, Matt Pascoe, from Brisbane.

They will be tested by a strong contingent of local drivers, including Darren Saunders and rookie racer Damien Arnold.

"All the Rocky drivers get on real well," Saunders said.

"We have very strong camaraderie and it's a real thrill to race side by side the other Rocky Super Sedan drivers.

"And we'll do our best to keep the visiting drivers honest."

Side by side is a bit of an understatement, as Super Sedans is often known as rubbing racing.

Cars crunch up against each other as they hurtle around the speedway at speeds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour.

"At that speed the main focus is the track ahead," Saunders said.

Saunders, who has more than seven years' experience behind the wheel of a Super Sedan, the blue ribbon speedway event, is hoping he can do well this weekend.

"I'm hoping for a top five finish," he said.

"It is a very strong field this weekend so that might not happen, but I will give it a real good go."

It is Damien Arnold's first season of Super Sedans, but he has been racing speedway in various machines since he was 14.

In his first hit-out around the Rocky Showgrounds last year his car suffered electrical problems and he did not finish.

"But that is all sorted now and this Saturday I'm hoping to finish,'' Arnold said.

"We have some big guns here in Rocky, we've got 12 to 15 local Super Sedan drivers.

"A few of them are exceptional, like Matt and Lee Williams and Craig Torr.

"It will be awhile before I can match them so if I can finish the night on Saturday I will be very happy.

"I just love the racing."

Gates open at 4pm with free rides for the kids and racing from 6pm.