GET YOUR MOTORS RUNNING
THE sounds of roaring engines will be heard across the city from this morning as the Watpac Townsville 400 takes off with practice sessions at Reid Park.
Beginning this morning at 7.30, the Townsville 400 is the biggest sporting and entertainment event in North Queensland, adding a whopping $ 20 million to the economy each year.
Crowd numbers are expected to reach 140,000, with race fans coming from around Australia and overseas with accommodation facilities and other businesses to reap the benefits from the influx.
Townsville Enterprise director of tourism and events Bridget Woods said there had been a really strong impact from people coming into the region.
“CBD hotels are have experienced strong bookings for the week leading up to the V8s and we are now seeing hotels on Magnetic Island filling up,” she said.
“We are looking forward to seeing the post- event results.”
With a circuit length of 2.86km, the Reid Park course sees drivers hit maximum speeds of 260km/ h in their high- octane Supercars.
The Townsville circuit proved to be a challenge in its inaugural year in 2009 and has quickly become a favourite of the drivers.
This year 18- year- old local female racer Madison Dunston will be on the track for the first time in Townsville, taking on the Aussie Racing Cars category for her second ever street circuit race.
Ms Dunston said she was very nervous and could hard- ly believe what she was achieving.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamt of, racing in Townsville, because it’s my home town and that makes it even more special,” Ms Dunston said.
Along with the racing, the event features something for everyone with plenty of trackside activities organised throughout the three days.
The Disney- Pixar cars pit stop features activities for all ages, allowing younger fans to be able to see the new- look Lightning McQueen and Mack the Transporter. And race fans young and old can also test their speed at the new Crazy Eights Raceway, or try out the double- lane inflatable slide.
Aussie rock legends Jimmy Barnes and James Reyne will be on stage tomorrow night as rock takes over from racing. The main races will be held tomorrow and Sunday at 4.10pm, both over 70 laps.
Tickets are still available through Ticketek or at the gate with prices starting from $ 30 for an adult paddock pass and kids under 12 free.
ON TRACK: Triple Eight team members Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen put the finishing touches to their training for this weekend’s Townsville 400 with a run up Castle Hill yesterday morning.
HOMETOWN GIRL: Aussie Racing Car series driver Madison Dunston, from Townsville, with her father Dale.