Father's dream to give juniors same chance as champion son
PROVIDING other juniors with the same opportunities as his Australian champion son is the driving force behind Dwayne Rew's push to upgrade Ipswich Speedway.
Nestled in the Ipswich Motorsport Park, Ipswich Switches Junior Motorcycle Speedway Club does not draw a lot of attention.
Its 300-strong membership is a close-knit family of racers.
The club's inconspicuous standing in the region will change if the eyes of the speedway world soon focus on Ipswich.
Ipswich City Council has pledged to increase attempts to secure an international speedway event; a potential $50 million money spinner for Queensland over five years.
The council will soon start negotiations to secure the Australian FIM Speedway Grand Prix.
As part of a three-day festival that would include a sidecar racing championship, the Grand Prix would attract more than 20,000 speedway fans as well as major international broadcasters and about 100 journalists.
Ipswich Motorsport Park is competing with Adelaide Showgrounds to host the FIM event from 2019 onwards.
Rew, whose son Keynan was recently ranked fourth in the world, said the attraction of a global event would transform speedway in Queensland.
"It would raise the bar a hell of a lot," he declared.
"We've got the perfect motorsport precinct.
"We can handle the capacity of people but it's just about getting the venue up to scratch."
The only standalone track for speedway bikes is located in Pioneer Park at Ayr.
Switches was established about seven years ago.
Rew believes hosting the FIM grand prix will transform speedway and set Switches up as its Mecca in Queensland.
"To be able to put on events on two weekends a month under lights will just raise the sport so much higher," he said.
Rew is driven by a passion to grow the sport and give other juniors the same shot at success his champion son had.
"It's always been my dream to have a standalone speedway track in Queensland," he said.
"Our club is built on junior riders and we've been very strong.
"If the venue is there it opens it up for other Ipswich juniors to compete."
There are two speedway venues under lights in New South Wales.
The lighting of the Ipswich speedway hinges on the council's success in lobbying for the international event.
Rew said lights improve the track surface and racing at night help lures viewers.
"It's hard to prepare a track in the heat of the day and spectators don't like sitting in the hot sun," he said.
Rew says upgrades to infrastructure are vital to improving club numbers.
Staged at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne for three years, the Australian FIM Speedway Grand Prix generated $9.8m annually for the local economy with 64 per cent of ticket purchasers from interstate.
Ipswich City Council and Tourism and Events Queensland have progressed detailed discussions with FIM and promoter Paul Sergeant Events.
The FIM Grand Prix series is raced in several countries including Denmark, Sweden and Germany.