WA sprintcar titles at Carnarvon attract speedway characters from across the state

With helmet marks still imprinted on her face and a race car with broken steering, Brooke Newson speaks in a surprisingly calm and collected manner for someone who just slammed into a wall at top speed.

“The titanium tie rod stud, which holds the car steering together, snapped causing the right wheel to fold in … it was a soft crash, but it didn’t feel very soft,” she laughed.

Newson is the only female competing at the WA sprintcar championships in Carnarvon this weekend and one of only two current female competitors in the sport in Western Australia.

“When you hear the engine chugging over and you flick that switch, for me I love it. It’s the best feeling ever,” Newson said.

Initially, her sprintcar was feared a write-off but after an inspection at the pit and some fiddly and fast repairs by her team, she’s off and racing again.

An insight into why this 31-year-old from Perth has a fierce reputation on the speedway track, despite only racing sprintcars for two years.

Carnarvon is one of 24 speedway tracks located across Western Australia.(ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

It’s the first time the WA sprintcar title has been held at the Carnarvon Speedway for 24 years.

Thirty-two sprintcar drivers from across Western Australia trucked their toys and teams into Carnarvon for the event and $20,000 cash prize, which is renowned for attracting speedway characters from all over the State.

Spectators leaning against cars watching the sprint car race
A crowd of 1,500 spectators attended the WA Sprint Car Titles at the Carnarvon Speedway. (ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

Speedway racing is very much a country affair, with 21 of the 24 speedway tracks in WA located in the regions from as far as Kununurra, out to Newman and down to Esperance.

And sprintcar racing is also very much a family affair.

Chevy Francis is a fourth-generation sprintcar racer and at only 14 years of age, he admits he’s already hooked on the natural high of adrenaline.

“Once you get that taste for the accelerator, you just want to keep on it … the adrenaline is actually addictive,” he said.

A boy sitting in a camp chair smiling
Chevy Francis in the Carnarvon Speedway pits during the WA sprintcar title. (ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

He says the fast-paced sport has taught him some valuable life lessons.

And the tiniest of teams took the prize with a well-deserved win.

After sitting in the top five all season, Tim Boujos took out the title from Michael Keen, who had held it for two years.

His only support crew in the pit is his wife Jess, who is a four-time Australian champion on two wheels.

“Without Jess I’d be lost because she does most of the stuff while we’re here … obviously when you’re strapped into the car you can’t do much, so she hands me my helmet, pushes me on the track, changes the settings on the car, fuel, tyre pressures. Whatever we need,” he said.

A man and woman, arm in arm, in front of a sprint car
Tim Boujos, pictured with his wife and crew member Jess, took out the WA Sprint Car Title.(ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

And the former two-wheeled champion could be one to watch next year. When asked if she’d consider sprint car racing, Jess’s response was more than enthusiastic.

“Oh, hell yeah. I’m trying to convince him (Tim) to get a 410 or go and drive something else, so I can commandeer that one,” she said, gesturing towards their sprintcar.

Carnarvon’s speedway is considered one of WA’s fastest, with drivers hitting around 150 kilometres per hour on the track.

Carnarvon sprint racer Jim Andreoli says the track is run entirely by volunteers.

Two men with their arms crossed standing in front of sprint cars in uniform
Jim Andreoli and David Bumbak ready to race the WA sprintcar titles.(ABC News: Kate Ferguson)

“Everything you see out here has been done on a volunteer basis. We buy the materials, but the catch fence was put up by members, the grandstand was put up by members, the bar was built by members’ help, and the track has been resurfaced this year as well,” he said.

If you’re interested in giving speedway racing a go, the Carnarvon Speedway has cars for hire to race on their track and they say they’d love to see more ladies on the track too.


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