WARRNAMBOOL looks set to establish a sister city relationship with an American mid-western city that has a shared love of sprintcars.
City councillors unanimously voted last night to indicate Warrnambool’s willingness to enter a five-year arrangement with Knoxville after the Iowan town made the proposal.
Council executives said last night’s tick of approval would pave the way for a formal adoption later this year, meaning Warrnambool would have a third sister city.
Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said the potential partnership was a “small gesture but a significant one” in recognising the ties between the two sprintcar-loving cities.
The proposal received warm approval from all councillors.
Cr Jacinta Ermacora said the potential sister city tie was a way of recognising Warrnambool’s strong standing on the sprintcar circuit.
“We know Warrnambool has the best jumps racing carnival, the best children’s festival and we also have the best sprintcar event and this recognises this,” she said.
Cr Peter Hulin said the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic pumped millions of dollars into the economy over the late summer period. “Being a Speedway tragic myself, I understand why people love it,” he said.
“The shaking of the ground, the mud flying in your face. The atmosphere is fantastic.”
Cr Rob Askew said the prospective US-Australia connection would formalise the strong ties that already bind Warrnambool and Knoxville.
“There are already a lot of people that come to the Grand Annual (Sprintcar Classic) from Iowa to either spectate or participate,” he said. “And the same goes for people from Warrnambool going to Knoxville.”
Warrnambool already has sister-city relationships with Chinese city Changchun and Japanese city Miura.
Knoxville, Iowa is the self-proclaimed “sprintcar capital of the world” and home to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and Knoxville Raceway.
The sister city proposal came about through a conversation between Knoxville Raceway general manager Brian Stickel and Premier Speedway general manager David Mills. Mr Mills was present at last night’s meeting and councillors acknowledged his work to forge the link.
Knoxville mayor Brian Hatch could not be contacted by The Standard last night due to the time difference between the United States and Australia.