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Thrills And Spills At Sprints

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A 1963 Austin Healey Sprite and a pack of Commodores wait patiently for their turn at the starting line

Off-road racing legend - and Dakar Rally veteran - Bruce Garland at the starting line in his Ford Escort

June 13, 2017

Wondai’s second annual Street Sprints attracted a good crowd on Saturday and Sunday; spectators had the opportunity to watch some classic cars go through their paces … and see some unexpected thrills and spills.

The sprints are timed laps with only one vehicle on the track at a time.

Drivers race against the clock rather than directly against other drivers, which is probably a good thing.

Saturday got off to an eventful start when the driver of a blue Ford FPV GT appeared to lose control in the first chicane during a non-timed familiarisation lap.

He left the circuit, smashed through a wire gate and fence and hit the corner of a large shed, taking out the power supply to the building and severing a water pipe.

Fortunately, no one was injured but the Ford was badly damaged.

It was a dramatic start to the day.

Later, a replica Bathurst Supercar Holden Commodore also had a moment at a chicane and hit a fence, damaging the rear of the car but not enough to stop the vehicle from going out later for more laps.

On Sunday, an RMC Cobra (a Ford Cobra replica) struck a fence at the rear of Wondai Electrical Services. Again, no one was hurt but the fence was damaged.

Fans could enjoy the action in more comfort this year, with more spectator stands placed around the track.

These were filled on both days.

Inspirational driver Vikki Paxton, from Yatala, recorded the fastest time on the weekend in her open-wheel Dallara F301.

Paxton, who came third in last year’s event, is lucky to be able to walk let alone drive a racing car,

In 1991, she was a promising Formula Ford driver when she was involved in a bad crash at Amaroo Park.

Stranded in the middle of the track with no gears, she was a sitting duck for a back marker.

Paxton ended up with a broken back, pelvis, ribs, jaw as well as internal and neck injuries.

After years of rehabilitation, Paxton climbed back into a race car, the Dallara built by her husband, and is now a common sight on the street sprint circuit.

Last year’s Wondai Sprints winner, Toowoomba driver Ray Vandersee, was second fastest this year in his Skelta G-Force open-wheeler, just .0087 seconds behind Paxton.

Justin  McCarthy, from Bribie Island, took the double: his vintage Austin 7 Sports Special recorded the slowest lap time last year, and repeated the feat in 2017.

Motorsport guru Will Hagon manned the microphone providing commentary all day Saturday and Sunday

The Ford FPV GT in better days ... shortly after this photo was taken both the Falcon and a Wondai shed were much the worse for wear (Photo: Denise Keelan Photography)

David Jamieson, from CAMS, with Motors In Motion organising committee members John Box and Kevin Krosch

Steve Krosch was driving his brother Kevin's well-known blue Ford Capri

Paul Want with Motors In Motion committee member Denis Carroll; the 1989 twin spark Alfa Romeo was Denis' road car for about 15 years, and then sat in a paddock for another 12; Denis sent it up to his stepson Paul at Atherton who replaced some components, got it running and brought it back down to the South Burnett just last Monday ...

... while Denis was working with the Alfa Romeo, wife Cherry Carroll was busy directing traffic on the starting grid

Motors In Motion committee member Malcolm Rea with his 2007 Toyota Corolla

Marjorie and Graham Crittenden, from Kingaroy, with their 1912 Model 61 Overland, nicknamed "Whitey" ... the couple have owned the vehicle for 51 years; the historic racer set the Sydney-Brisbane and Brisbane-Toowoomba records in 1918

Neil McLeod, from Lockyer Valley, with his self-designed and built Mactec ... it's powered by a Suzuki Hayabusa engine and the kevlar body weighs just 36kg

Taabinga Rotary members were looking after the main gate at the parking area and assisting with the shuttle bus ... some of the volunteers, from left, Ralph and Kay Clark, Tony Rossi, Kimberley McCullagh and Mark Hutchison

A 1971 Ford Falcon XY makes its way up the back straight ...

One of the Bathurst replica Commodores lays down some rubber on the starting line

A 1978 Holden Torana goes through its paces around the Wondai track ...

You don't have to prove a thing ... there were several Mini drivers testing their skills at the weekend

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