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August 09 Edition Cover

Tick for speedway track

25 Oct 2016

Tick for speedway track Image

By Elliana Saltalamacchia

Riders were impressed with Etihad Stadium’s transformation for the Australian FIM Speedway Grand Prix held on Saturday, October 22.

The Speedway Grand Prix is a series of speedway events that run over a season to decide a world champion.  

500cc bikes with a single fixed gear and no brakes are used to complete four laps of the track, with riders reaching speeds of over 120kmh.

Etihad Stadium communications manager Bill Lane said 350 trucks brought 5500 tonnes of dirt into the stadium to convert the ground into the track. 

He said the process began after the A-League’s Melbourne derby on Saturday October 15, and was completed the following Thursday.

Three-time world champion Greg Hancock said that, like last year, he was happy with this year’s track.

“Without a doubt I think you could say they definitely built the best track here last year,” he said.

“It’s a lot bigger here too so you have a lot more space to make a wider, better race track.”

He said he hoped other venues learned from the way Etihad Stadium build its temporary track as the riders “can’t complain”.

Reigning world champion Tai Woffinden also said the track looked nice and that he enjoyed having the event at Etihad Stadium. 

“I’d like to see the world championships come to stadiums like this for the whole series,” Mr Woffinden said. 

Mr Lane said experts from Europe came to Melbourne to advise on the dirt used, which was sourced from Victorian quarries.

He said it was a “meticulous task” and that if the track wasn’t right, it could be dangerous for the riders. 

He also said that last year, around 75 per cent of ticket sales were made to people outside of Victoria, bringing many people to Docklands.

He said speedway was more popular in regional pockets of Australia, but there was a “big effor t” to appeal to the mainstream this year. 

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