The “off-season” for any sporting venue can be challenging, Perth Motorplex is no different during the winter months. It’s often raining, it’s cold, the track and facilities sit stagnant and unused; only the memories of the season gone by still linger in our minds.
But Perth is one of the sunniest cities in Australia! Surely there has to be a way we can keep the fans involved and host a handful of events during the winter months. That was the idea that kicked off some experimental events in the winter of 2022 – which was met with some mixed results.
The back end of Perth Motorplex 2022-23 season ended with some rain-outs of their own (The WA Drag Racing Grand Final being rained out during the main event, and the Good Fryday Burnout King event being rescheduled due to rain, only to face even more challenging conditions on the new date). This didn’t deter the Motorplex staff – knowing after a couple of months of no activity – and by the time July comes around, the fans and general public would be chomping at the bit to see some action.
“The goal was obviously to try and see if we could beat the weather, but we really wanted to deliver a full day of activity for the fans… keeping them engaged with us and having a good time when there’s generally nothing on.” – Matt Pickett, Perth Motorplex Drag Racing Operations
The Motorplex staff set the goal to try and run three “Winter Heat” events, allowing car enthusiasts and aficionado’s alike to experience all that the ‘Plex has to offer on the drag strip side of life: with Roll Racing, Drag Racing and Burnouts all crammed into a single day event.
The first event on Sunday July 2 yielded some promising results – the weather played nicely with no rain and a nice top of 17 degrees. With over 130 cars competing and approximately 1000 fans taking to the grandstands to soak up all the off-street action.
This led to a greater push for the second event on Saturday July 22, with a blessing of good weather again (high of 18deg and no rain). The event was a success – but with some slightly different numbers, 90 cars & bikes enjoying the Roll Racing & Drag Racing action, over 30 Burnout cars and more than 1200 fans enjoying the day at the Motorplex.
The feedback from the racers and the fans was overwhelming – with many asking for one last attempt to get an event done during winter – and so Winter Heat 3 was scheduled to run on Sunday August 13.
To try and drive some more excitement for the event, the Motorplex team put together some promotions: working with Street Bike Drag School’s Daniel Natalotto (current ANDRA Competition Bike Divisional Champion & track record holder) to put together a race in search of “Perth’s fastest Street Bike” if anyone could take on Daniel in a heads up race on his Kawasaki ZX-10R and win – they would take the crown. Ultimately Daniel was able to take on all comers, and maintains his ‘crown’ – for the moment…
The second promotion was aimed at burnouts – with the winner receiving a free entry into the upcoming Burnout Boss 8 event on October 14. A great way to drive some excitement for the Winter events and begin to build up to some of the top-level calendar events yet to come. Mark Bell drove his Toyota Cressida “MAKE IT TAKE IT” to success as the crowd-voted burnouts winner amongst a field of 46 Burnout cars…scoring his free entry as Car #1 in October 2023.
Despite the early weather forecast looking quite a grim a week prior for Winter Heat 3, the team pushed onwards with the plan to run the event and assess the weather in the coming days. Luck was on their side as the weather forecast shifted and started showing signs of a warm Sunday. The racers and fans turned out in droves to the largest Winter Heat event yet – with 148 Car & Bike entries for Roll Racing and Drag Racing, 46 Burnout Entries and over 1500 fans attending the event with beautiful clear skies and a high of 19 degrees.
“It’s rewarding to see so many people out and enjoying the day for Winter Heat 3, a great day for everyone involved and there was lots of smiles on faces walking around the venue” – Andrew Sharp, Perth Motorplex Drag Racing Meeting Director
In total, the “Winter Heat” events yielded attendances of over 350 Roll Racing & Drag Racing entries, more than 100 Burnout entries and 3,700 spectators. A great result for a time of year where the venue usually doesn’t see any events being run at all. Attention now turns to the upcoming 2023-24 Season – “The year of horsepower” with the calendar kicking off in September 2023. See the calendar and upcoming events HERE