Get Started in Speedway
Attending different types of Speedway racing events will help you work out which discipline of the sport you would like to become involved in.
Speedway events are run on almost every weekend of the year, depending on which state you’re in, and range from grass roots events to major events such as World Series Sprintcars or Australian Championships.
As a Speedway competitor, you’ll experience the thrill of being in the driver’s seat at high speeds in intense competition.
The cost of competing varies depending on the type of Speedway racing you would like to participate in – from varying licence costs to the cost of a car, travel and spare parts. Here are a few pointers to get you started in Speedway!
Junior Speedway: A Brief History
Australian junior motor racing began at the Forest Hill Speedway Association in 1971, hosting fields of unmodified cars (mostly Prefects, Angler 105s and Triumphs) that were perfect for junior racing thanks to their low entry cost.
In 1978, 1200cc stock cars with roll cages, welded drivers seats and virtually no other modifications became popular. In 1998, Speedway Sedans Australia took junior racing national, with approximately 60 WA competitors and smatterings of other competitors across the rest of the country, holding their first national title in 2002.
Quarter Midgets and Junior Formula 500s are now incorporated into a junior program. Open-wheel junior racing is a relatively new concept - most of today’s elite open-wheel drivers progressed through the Junior Sedan ranks before making the switch.
Minimum ages for competition vary between Speedway divisions. Generally, junior divisions facilitate drivers up to the age of 16 years. After turning 17, the driver can enter senior competitions. Children as young as 5, up to the age of 16 years may compete in JQMA events. To compete in Junior Sedans, children must be aged between 10 and 16 years or aged between 12 and 16 years to compete in Junior Formula 500s.
Entry costs also vary between Speedway divisions. For Juniors, the Junior Quarter Midgets Australia Association (JQMA) have implemented a ‘stock standard’ rule for all classes to help keep the running cost to a minimum for families (a Quarter Midget is a ¼ scale version of an actual open wheel midget racer). As a Speedway entry point, the JQMA is focused on teaching children race craft and good sportsmanship, not “he who spends the most wins”. For an entry level vehicle plus gear, getting started in a Quarter Midget is likely to cost between $5500 and $8500.
Junior Formula 500s are a regular Formula 500 that has been fitted with a restrictor plate, which ultimately reduces speed, making the cars safer for younger drivers who are just starting out in the class.When drivers reach the age of 16 and move into the regular Formula 500s class, the restrictor plate can easily be removed allowing the same car to be run, making them a very appealing option for both drivers and parents.
Junior Sedans, another popular entry point for junior racers, can be cost effective and one of the safest forms of junior competition. Vehicles are limited in power, enabling older, cheaper vehicles fitted with rollcages such as Datsuns, Escorts and Charades to compete.
To get started as a senior driver can seem daunting. After all, going up against experienced campaigners on the track is a big step. Many Speedways have participation or come-and-try days, where you can try out Speedway without fully committing yourself financially. Speedway Australia also offers One-Day Licences to competitors, so you can get out on the track without paying for a full season of racing. One-Day Licences are also available for junior drivers.
Becoming an Official
Another option may be becoming a Speedway Official. Becoming a Speedway Official at grass roots events is an inexpensive way to experience the sport first hand, while learning what goes on at a Speedway track, rules, regulations and what competing is all about – who knows, soon you just might be officiating National Speedway Events! To apply for an Officials licence click here
Junior Official licences are available for applicants as young as 12 years of age.
Before You Start Competing
To ensure that every Speedway competitor is fit and capable to compete, all competitors must be licensed. This means that they have applied to Speedway Australia for a Speedway licence and have satisfied the licensing criteria by:
- Becoming a member of an association or club (to view full list of clubs click here)
- Submitting a health statement
- Undertaking an approved medical examination
- Agreeing to abide by the Speedway Australia Drug & Alcohol Policy
Where To Start
The JQMA operates in Victoria and Queensland.
Junior Formula 500s compete in Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales.
Junior Sedans compete at a range of venues in most states throughout Australia.
The racing divisions page is a fantastic source of information. The best way to get involved in racing is to visit an association, club or track and ask them for advice!
Joining an association or club helps you meet people who can assist you to get into the sport, and can be a great place to buy spare parts or even your first vehicle.