Today marks 10 years of writing for Speedway Sedans Australia, with my first story posted on the website on 8 November 2008.
In the ten years that have followed, many things have happened, many for the better and some that could not have been foreseen at the time.
The website of the day was not used in a meaningful way, stories were general in nature about meetings or events that were coming up, and a lot of information was out of date or obsolete.
Facebook had only just come into being, and was primitive compared to todays usage, iPhones were not yet on the market, live audio had not come into being and live streaming was something that was only a pipe dream.
In the ten years that have followed, I have been able to cover events for Speedway Sedans Australia, who at the time were called the Australian Saloon Car Federation, in every State and the Northern Territory.
There have been many firsts in that time, including the introduction of Junior Sedans to Tasmania and Queensland, along with Street Stock into Queensland and New South Wales, along with Production Sedans into Queensland.
The first title I covered was at the Maryborough Speedway, with the National Modified Sedan Title. There was no audio, no video, no streaming, no photos and no live results onto the website. Back then, we used a chat forum to get the word out. At the time it was cutting edge, and that was the accepted way. It would not be the accepted way today.
In the last ten years I have covered 44 of the 46 National Titles contested, which has taken us to all points of the compass. The coverage grew from regular stories on the website, to updated results of weekly events, with the National Super Sedan of 2009 at Lismore being the watershed moment, where we introduced Live Audio for the very first time. Live Audio went on to become an integral part of our coverage of National Titles, and is now used almost every week at a venue somewhere around Australia.
The website has been enhanced three times since the initial site of 2008, keeping pace with the latest trends and capabilities.
Our coverage extended further with video added in 2015 and in 2017 it went to the next step with live streaming. Who knows what will be next and where our coverage will take us.
In the previous ten years, 9930 stories or result postings have been made, something every other organisation within the Speedway industry would love to have. In that time there have been some brilliant and integral moments, and I have come up with my top three of the previous ten years.
At number three, it was the first time a driver had won the C Main, the B Main and ultimately the A Main. Jamie Oldfield, after qualifying poorly due to mechanical issues, snuck into the C Main at his home track. Before the biggest crowd in living memory at the venue, Oldfield made his way from the C Main as a winner, following that performance with a win in the B Main. Could he possibly win the A Main with the likes of Anthony Beare and Brad McClure in the field? Beare and McClure put on a clinic, racing side by side, but all the while Oldfield was making his way through the field. He caught them, and then had the epic battle with Beare. They ran the last lap side by side, with Beare going up on two wheels in turn three, hitting the fence. Oldfield crossed the line, there was a moment of confusion as to whether the chequered flag was out, or the yellow lights were on for a restart. The officials deemed the race over and the announcement was made. Jamie Oldfield had won! This set off the most amazing and raucous scenes I have ever seen at a Speedway venue.
The number two moment is an integral moment in Speedway Sedans Australias history. In 2009, I received a phone call from Darren McCarthy who dearly wanted to listen to the National Super Sedan Title, but could not make it to Lismore. Over the phone, he showed me how to download a program, told me to buy a USB headset, and before I knew it, I was talking to the world. Well, talking to 20 people, with the advent of our first live broadcast. It was an interactive broadcast, with the listeners able to talk back to me and ask questions. We out grew that program, went to a bigger service which again proved too small for the popular broadcasts, which ultimately have led to where we are today, with Live Streaming.
For me the number one moment is a no contest. It will be hard for any title to top what occurred in 2016. The National Street Stock Title at the Redline Raceway will go down in history as having the biggest nomination list of any category in Australian Speedway history. One hundred and thirty nine drivers entered, with 137 of them starting the first round of heats. The venue was packed with thousands of people attending. The Grand Parade, four wide stretched right around the track until the cars met each other. The racing was first class, and the finish was unforgettable. After 48 qualifying heats, two non-qualifying races, a C Main and B Main, the A Main put an exclamation mark on the event, with the closest winning margin for a Sedan National Title, with the winning margin being 0.019. It was a privilege and an honour to be there.
What does the next ten years look like? We will have to wait and see, but for us to keep Speedway Sedans at the forefront of promotion we need to keep on evolving and ensuring we continue to stay ahead in the way deliver our news and events.The National Street Stock Title Parade of 2016, 137 cars took part.