Lex Swayn
Lex Swayn Contributed

Dedicated Willowbank Raceway board member stands aside

LONG-time drag racing supporter Lex Swayn has stepped down from Willowbank Raceway's board of management after more than 30 years of service.

Swayn joined the management committee in 1983 during the construction phase of the Raceway.

He has been widely acknowledged for his contributions to the venue and to the sport.

During Willowbank's quarter-century celebrations in September 2010, Swayn was one of 17 people presented with awards recognising 25 years as a track official. He also received a second plaque for his 25-year role as editor of Raceway magazine The Elapsed Times.

In 2013, the Australian Nostalgia Fuel Association honoured Swayn with a Pioneer Award for his contribution over four decades to drag racing.

"My journey with Willowbank Raceway is not over, I am simply standing down from the board and I will be around for a long time yet,'' Swayn said.

"As the person who chronicled our endeavours to transform what was just a paddock in the bush west of Ipswich into an international standard raceway, Willowbank has been and always will be a big part of my life.

"Willowbank's story is fantastic and it has been an honour to not only be a part of it, but to have been able to document the history of a facility created by a group of drag racers who simply set out to build a place of their own to race their vehicles. From those humble beginnings, we've ended up with the quickest track outside of North America, as well making the Winternationals the biggest and best championship race meeting outside of the US.''

Swayn (pictured) said he was stepping back for two main reasons.

"After more than 30 years of working for Willowbank, I strongly believe that regeneration is important and I feel I should make way for younger people to guide the race track into the future,'' he said. "And I am also at the stage of my life where I need to make the time to pursue many personal projects and plans.''

After 1981 founding committee member John Winterburn, Swayn was the next longest serving board representative.

Willowbank Raceway chairman Tony Wedlock said Swayn's presence on the board would be sorely missed.

"The contribution of Lex Swayn to Willowbank Raceway and the sport of drag racing as a whole is undeniable,'' Wedlock said.

"While we wish him all the best in his retirement, his input into how the raceway evolves will be missed. During my time on the Willowbank board Lex has always provided a very measured approach to how things are done and has helped me in ways he probably doesn't fully appreciate.

"Knowing Lex, we are very pleased to hear that he wishes to stay involved in the Raceway, and look forward to seeing him out and around the track.''