Willowbank Raceway Safety Upgrade is on Track
8 May 2019
Willowbank Raceway Safety Upgrades on Track
Progress on the next stage of Willowbank Raceway’s ongoing safety upgrades is well on track for completion in advance of the upcoming Gulf Western Oil Winternationals. Major changes include extensive drainage and earthworks to facilitate significant upgrades at the end of the braking area. Existing tyre walls lining the sides of the emergency braking area are being replaced with concrete barriers with the right hand side being completed this week and the left to be done next week. Over 100 cubic metres of a specific grade of pea gravel has been added to the expanded area.
A new, international industry best practice arrestor net system is being installed to halt any vehicle that manages to traverse the gravel trap. The chosen system is used at National Championship venues in the U.S.A. and has proved extremely effective and safe. It comprises a 1.8 metre high primary net of heavy nylon rope woven into square webbing with a secondary pair 3.6 metre high located 15 metres behind the first. The nets are anchored to 300mm diameter, reinforced and solid concrete filled steel posts. The specifications of these posts, fittings and massive 3 metre deep concrete footings were specially designed by the consulting engineers to suit the Raceway’s conditions including soil type etc.
The construction and installation of the four anchor posts has been completed and, after being airfreighted from the US, the nets are on site and ready to be installed after the curing period for the post’s concrete footings. A complete set of spare nets is also on hand to cater for any eventuality.
Willowbank Raceway President, Tony Wedlock expressed his gratitude to the many members of the Drag Racing community who have volunteered invaluable assistance to bring the project to fruition. “We have had huge assistance from a big range of supporters in almost every step of this process from organizing air freight, to delivering the specific pea gravel required, to earthworks, drainage, concreting, you name it. This stage of our safety upgrades is a six figure project for the Raceway but would have cost much, much more and taken much longer if not for the generous assistance of all these people. Willowbank Raceway features the longest braking area of any drag strip in Australia and these upgrades will improve competitor safety even further. Every driver and rider that races on the track owes these people a big vote of thanks for the incredible job they’ve done”
The works are scheduled for completion prior to the Winter’s Warm Up weekend of testing on June 1-2.