WA sprintcar titles in Carnarvon attract speedway characters from across the state

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With helmet marks still imprinted on her face and a race car with broken steering, Brooke Newson speaks in a surprisingly calm and collected manner for someone who has just slammed into a wall at full speed.

“The titanium tie rod stud, which holds the car‘s steering together, broke, causing the right wheel to bend…it was a mild crash, but it didn’t feel very mild,” a- she laughed.

Newson is the only woman to compete in the WA Sprintcar Championships at Carnarvon this weekend and one of only two current competitors in the sport in Western Australia.

“When you hear the engine revving and you hit that switch, to me, I love it. It’s the best feeling ever,” Newson said.

Initially, it was feared that her sprintcar might be scrapped, but after a pit inspection and some tedious and quick repairs by her team, she set off again and raced again.

A glimpse into why this 31-year-old from Perth has a fierce reputation on the speed track, despite only racing sprintcars for two years.

Carnarvon is one of 24 speed tracks located across Western Australia.(ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

This is the first time the WA sprintcar title has been held at Carnarvon Speedway in 24 years.

Thirty-two sprintcar drivers from across Western Australia transported their toys and teams to Carnarvon for the event and a cash prize of $20,000, renowned for attracting speedway characters from across the state.

Spectators leaning against cars watching the sprint car race
A crowd of 1,500 spectators attended the WA Sprint Car titles at Carnarvon Speedway. (ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

Speedway racing is a country affair, with 21 of WA’s 24 speedway tracks located in areas ranging from as far as Kununurra, up to Newman and up to Esperance.

And sprintcar racing is also a family affair.

Chevy Francis is a fourth-generation sprintcar racer and at just 14 years old, he admits he’s already addicted to natural adrenaline.

“Once you get a taste for the accelerator, you just want to keep going…the adrenaline is actually addictive,” he said.

a boy sitting in a camp chair, smiling
Chevy Francis in the pits at Carnarvon Speedway during the WA sprintcar title. (ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

He says the fast-paced sport has taught him valuable life lessons.

And the smallest of the teams took home the prize with a well-deserved victory.

After sitting in the top five all season, Tim Boujos stole the title from Michael Keen, who had held it for two years.

His only support crew in the pits is his wife Jess, a four-time Australian two-wheeler champion.

“If it wasn’t for Jess I’d be lost because she does most of the stuff while we’re here…Obviously when you’re strapped in the car you can’t do much so she hands me my helmet, pushes me on the track, changes car settings, fuel, tire pressure, whatever we need,” he said.

A man and a woman, arm in arm, in front of a racing car
Tim Boujos, pictured with his wife and crew member Jess, won the WA Sprint Car title.(ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

And the former two-wheeled champion could be one to watch next year. When asked if she would consider racing in a speed car, Jess’ response was more than enthusiastic.

“Oh shit yeah. I’m trying to convince him (Tim) to buy a 410 or go drive something else, so I can commandeer that one,” she said, pointing to their race car .

The Carnarvon speedway is considered one of the fastest in WA, with riders reaching around 150 kilometers per hour on the track.

Carnarvon sprint racer Jim Andreoli says the track is run entirely by volunteers.

Two men with arms crossed standing in front of uniformed sprint cars
Jim Andreoli and David Bumbak set to race WA sprintcar titles.(ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

“Everything you see here was done on a volunteer basis. We buy the materials, but the catch fence was erected by the members, the grandstand was erected by the members, the bar was built with help members and the track resurfaced this year as well,” he said.

If you are interested in trying out speedway racing, Carnarvon Speedway has cars for hire to race on their track and they say they would love to see more women on the track too.

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