Willowbank News and Media
JUNIOR DRAGSTERS: THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIAN DRAG RACING
Article Date: 8 June 2016
Since its inception in 1992, the Junior Dragster field in Australia has been the breeding ground for some of Australian Drag Racing's finest talent including the likes of Ben Bray, who started his multiple National Championship-winning career behind the wheel of a Junior Dragster.
The current generation of Junior Dragsters are broken down in to three classes based on engine capacity and the field is open to drivers aged 6 to 17 years. Clearly stylised like the heavy-hitting Kings of the quarter mile, Junior Dragsters run light, long frames and can reach speeds of over 130mk/h over the eighth mile.
"Junior Dragster is the grass roots of Australian Drag Racing. You're watching the next greatest talents who'll rise up through the ranks of the sport, and that's why we'll continue to support Junior Dragster, to invest in the development of professionalism and sportsmanship in the next generation of great Australian Drag Racers," said Tony Wedlock from Willowbank Raceway.
Stuart Bishop, of the category sponsor Wallace Bishop Loyal Watches, was quick to reiterate these sentiments. “Junior Dragsters are the future of our sport; supporting this category was our priority for the 2016 Winternationals.”
Pro Alcohol racer Robert Ambruosi’s daughter Monique has been racing Junior Dragster for several years, and the 2016 City of Ipswich Winternationals was her last year in the category. “She’s always loved racing; she reminds me of me as a kid! It’s all she’s ever thought about; she didn’t like any other sport,” he admits of how Monique found her way behind the wheel of a Junior Dragster. “She works hard every Saturday, proving herself, working on the car… it’s instilled in her a sense of hard work and gratitude,” he continues of the benefits of Monique being so passionate about the sport.
“After this year she’ll probably sit out for a season, however we’ve already got a HZ Monaro full chassis car for her to jump in to, to learn how to drive a bigger car. We’ll just have to figure out what class we’ll put her in to,” Ambruosi continues.
“Drag Racing is a family sport. Our family is always at the track whenever we’re racing and we’re constantly meeting other people racing with their families, too. Junior Dragster is where it all starts; that’s the root of the tree and Drag Racing in Australia needs Junior Dragster; it’s the future of the sport,” says Ambruosi in a heartfelt closing.
Whilst a fraction of the size of any other Pro Class car, Junior Dragsters are still a massive investment of time and finances for racing families with the average meeting costing into the thousands of dollars, depending on maintenance schedules and breakages. Second-hand, proven chassis can be a cost-effective way to get a foot in the door, but will still cost in the vicinity of $10,000 depending on the class, its racing history and the spare parts it comes with.
Still, many see it as a great investment in a sport that teaches their children critical skills and instils a sense of pride in their achievements on the track.
« Back To News