Back in February last year, local motor racing enthusiasts Hagen Zerk and Tony Rodda (pictured with major sponsor Peter Teakle) fronted up to a Port Lincoln City Council meeting with a plan.
Their goal, with the backing of the EP Autosports Club, was to bring the sort of major street sprint motor sport event they loved to compete in to their home town.
They hoped it could become an annual event and a major tourist attraction for the city attracting 2000 to 5000 visitors to Port Lincoln.
Less than 18 months on that dream became a reality when more than 60 cars took to the streets of Port Lincoln’s central business district over two days of loud, entertaining competition.
Mayor Bruce Green welcomed the idea right from day one, having seen the potential as mayor of Warwick when the Leyburn Sprints were established in 2001, and after the weekend there are many more who can see that kind of long-term potential for the Port Lincoln event.
A week ago most people in Port Lincoln did not know what to expect from the city’s first auto sprint event but feedback suggests locals and visitors alike liked what they saw.
There were plenty of “rev heads” enjoying the spectacle, many of whom had travelled to Port Lincoln specifically for the event, but the number of people heard to say: “I’m not into cars but...” suggests it catered for a much broader audience.
Shutting down some of Port Lincoln’s main thoroughfares for the event had the potential to cause issues and attract complaints but there has been little, if any, negativity.
It no doubt caused some inconvenience to a few local businesses, (while providing a huge boost to others), but from all reports, the business owners embraced it anyway, perhaps because they could see the benefits it could bring for the city.
Either way they were willing to take a punt and see how it went.
Port Lincoln already had a lot to offer Easter holiday makers with great fishing and camping spots within easy reach but the Teakle Auto Sprint has added another string to the region’s bow.
It will be interesting to see the results of a feedback survey conducted throughout the event to see where people came from and what they thought about the event but feedback so far seems to be unanimous. Bring it back next year.