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.