The Ravenswood Years
It was many years ago in 1982 when my late brother Gary Miocevich lead myself and my other brother, Mark, on an amazing journey. Along with Kevin Prendergast and the Collings brothers, Ross and Peter, we negotiated to purchase the Ravenswood Raceway. I remember clearly as a 21-year-old sitting in front of the local bank manager after applying for a $10,000 personal loan. I can hear his words ringing in my ears, ‘It’s a pie in the sky, boys’. But for us, it was our passion and something we just had to do. A change of banks delivered the funds and then for the next few years, weekends were spent labouring at Ravenswood with a band of loyal supporters.
Ravenswood, like many early drag racing facilities was very basic, lacking many of the safety features that we now take for granted. Under the leadership of Kevin Prendergast, we built a spectator mound and grandstands, improved the parking and planted lawns. Kevin even managed to get Osram Lighting to sponsor us with some new lights and found some second hand light poles. With the help of many of the early drag racers, we installed the lighting for the length of the ¼ mile; it was good luck and best wishes however in the braking area.
Claremont Speedway and the Relocation
By the 1990’s residential development was encroaching on the land surrounding Ravenswood Raceway, and as we have seen on many similar occasions, being well established and away from others, doesn’t guarantee one’s survival. Gary had other plans, and with dogged determination and all the cunning of a chook house fox, he finally got the Western Australian Government to agree in writing to relocate our sport should the proposed rezoning of land occur, which it did. At a similar time, Claremont Speedway, after nearly 100 years was also being evicted and needed a new home. A joint Claremont/Ravenswood business model was far more likely to succeed, so now with Con Migro on board, the push was on to ensure the Government honoured its relocation commitment.
Gary was fascinated by the ancient Roman sporting arena, Circus Maximus, and how it had been the centrepiece of chariot racing for more than 400 years. It was from here, and from visiting many US motorsport facilities, that the Perth Motorplex design evolved. Gary was passionate about how the new home of drag racing and speedway should be built and worked closely with the government design team
Staff and Volunteers
Having a great facility is nothing if you don’t have great people to operate it. We have been blessed with the services of many volunteers and part time staff who come along every meeting driven by their passion for our sports. Many people simply don’t understand that it is our very own track staff and officials who ensure the safe running of our facility. Thanks to their advice and input, we continue to enhance the safety features of the Motorplex. To all of you, I give you my sincere thanks. You have allowed us all to enjoy racing together in a safe and fun environment.
To our full time staff, I also offer my sincere thanks. To Gavin Migro, for his many years of steady stewardship over the speedway business, and Rod Britton, who has run the drag racing side of things. To all of our office, production, ticketing and ground staff, thank you for your attention to detail. Running a motorsports complex is often just that, complex, and you have all done a great job.
John Day – The end of an era
I was also saddened to hear of the passing yesterday of our Speedway icon, ‘The General’ John Day. A truly remarkable man who has been an integral part of our sport for so many years. His smile and colourful flag waving will remain in our memories forever. Our thoughts and best wishes are with John’s family and all of the John Day crew. An end of an era in many ways.
I would also like to acknowledge the professional manner in which VenuesWest has handled the tendering for the Licence agreement along with our unexpected withdrawal from the process. David Etherton and Colin Brandis have been great supporters of the Motorplex and their decision to take over the venue management in the short term should be applauded by all. I would encourage everyone to put aside any self-interest and support their decisions for the benefit of all.
Over the years we have forged close relationships and friendships with our loyal sponsors and suppliers. From the very smallest sole traders to large multinationals, we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship build on respect and trust. Some have been with us since the Ravenswood days and have always supported us through thick and thin.
Finally, I come to the band of passionate racers from both speedway and drag racing. You have demonstrated time and time again, your comradery and sense of fair play. The racing is always competitive yet friendly with many of us forging lifelong friendships. May you all live long and race hard.
Not being able to continue in our current role has been both difficult and disappointing for our family. Like all of you, we remain passionate about our sports and wish you all the best for the future.