WILLOWBANK RACEWAY GEARS UP FOR MOPAR MADNESS!
29 July 2016
If you needed any proof that Mopar Sunday, one of the most legendary motorsport events to ever be run at Willowbank Raceway, is a family-friendly event then just ask Event Promoter Sam Tatton where it all started and he’ll tell you that family and community is at the very core of the all-Chrysler celebration.
“This year is the fourteenth running, it actually started as a birthday bash for my father,” begins Tatton of the event’s roots. “My grandfather had a Chrysler dealership and it got my father in to Chryslers and the Mopar brand, which in turn got me in to it.”
The concept for Mopar Sunday started way back in 2003 when Tatton assembled a small group of family and like-minded enthusiasts at Willowbank. “We got a few mates together and from those grassroots it has grown year on year, but what’s unique is that almost everyone that comes along has been involved in the growth since day one,” Tatton adds.
And he’s not wrong. From humble beginnings Mopar Sunday has grown to regularly accept in excess of 300 vehicles between the Drag Racing and the show’n’shine, and a crowd numbering in excess of 3,000.
Tatton explains that they’re pretty strict in keeping it an all-Mopar affair, though. “In the early years we had a couple of ring-ins but to keep it special we keep it Mopar-only; Mopar body, Mopar power or ideally both,” he explains.
Of the 300 cars in attendance, spectators can expect a rich mix of old and new Mopar muscle with a wide variety of vehicles filling the ranks. Around 150 cars are expected to front up for the show’n’shine, and Tatton is quick to explain that these aren’t just your average street machines.
“We usually get along plenty of top-level show cars which have had tens of thousands of dollars spent on them, but the owners aren’t afraid to give them a bit of a squirt down the track!” he exclaims.
“This year our show’n’shine will be assisted by the show’s Major Sponsor Ipswich Jeep who’ll be bringing along some of their latest models and merchandise,” explains Tatton, alluding to yet another important aspect of the day. “Mopar Merchandise” is the term Tatton uses to describe the various Mopar-related trade stands that will fill out the venue on the day, allowing those in attendance to immerse themselves in the full Mopar experience.
Arguably the main attraction of the day is the Drag Racing, and again, it’s diversity that Tatton says makes the event so unique.
“The Drag Racing runs all day and is totally unique. We’ve got everything from Nitro-powered Funny Cars all the way down to new Jeeps and guys racing their grandfather’s Valiant – where else can you see such vastly different vehicles line up side-by-side for a Drag Race?” he laughs. Mopar Sunday will welcome two special exhibition vehicles to solidify the event’s rich racing history, giving punters some high-octane, Nitro-burning racing to enrich their Mopar Sunday experience.
The racing is only a spectacle though, and Tatton is quick to explain that the Mopar fans simply want to enjoy their vehicles in the presence of like-minded enthusiasts. “We’ve never been about the competition, it’s just all about the Mopar spirit,” he explains. The Mopar brand has a rich association with Drag Racing, stemming back to its origins in the USA where the Mopar brand prided itself on its performance at the Drag Strip, while rivals GM and Ford bothered themselves with their vehicle’s performance on the racing circuit.
For Mopar fans still hungry for something to see and do they can take in the mechanical mayhem of the ‘rolling road’ dynamometer testing vehicle horsepower, or the Chrysler Cruise which will be taking place over the lunchtime break.
“We’ve been at Willowbank for fourteen years now and we couldn’t think of a better venue – it’s close, but it’s one of the best tracks in the country; it’s a pleasure to keep bringing Mopar Sunday back,” adds Tatton in closing.
Those looking to enter their Mopar muscle car can do so on the day, and anyone wanting to get along and immerse themselves in the country’s original one-marque motorsport event can do so for $25 per head. Children 13 years and under are free. The gates open at 7am on Sunday 31st July 2016, and racing will continue in to the afternoon until approximately 3.00pm.
Situated conveniently close to the major cities of the Gold Coast and Brisbane, Willowbank Raceway is a short drive from the thriving metropolis of Ipswich and is one of the country’s best-known and most-frequented motorsport complexes. Home to everything from grassroots Street Meet racing, all the way through to World-Class events like the annual Winternationals event, Willowbank Raceway is run by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. For more information on the track visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au