A Warrnambool sprintcar enthusiast wants the region's businesses to get behind the South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic and generate excitement as international and interstate visitors descend on the city.
Geoff Rounds co-owns Staffords Jewellery and has created a window display featuring sprintcar models as a way to celebrate the week and generate interest in the event, which delivers huge economic benefits.
He is calling on the city council to encourage other businesses to do similar displays.
"I just love the buzz," Mr Rounds said. "I've been to grands prix around the world and to other motorsport events and Warrnambool holds its own."
Mr Rounds hopes other business owners will follow suit, particularly next year when the classic celebrates its milestone 50th edition. He has also contacted the council requesting speedway flags be flown in Raglan Parade this weekend, as it's done in the past to create a buzz in the city.
"They should be up," Mr Rounds said. "It's a special week. Let's get them up. Let's embrace this 49th classic and welcome everyone. There's some American fans here as well and a lot of Australians here this weekend, so let's showcase the town."
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Premier Speedway general manager David Mills is looking forward to the event. He said 85 drivers had entered but the field now sat at 81 drivers, including Californian Carson Masedo, the only international driver.
Mr Mills is hoping for a crowd of 20,000 people across the three nights and said while ticket sales were slow at the start of the week, they'd picked up pace since.
"The club's made a very big commitment to host this weekend," Mr Mills said. "The soft and easy option would've been to say a couple of months ago 'it's going to be too hard and too expensive, the risk is phenomenal'.
"None of those things have changed. We're still facing that now but we're confident we've made that commitment to make it all work.
"The alternative is it wouldn't have happened so we ask the public for a bit of support (adhering to COVID protocols) to make it flow and work as best it can. That would be greatly appreciated. "
Mr Mills said the race featured the "best of the best drivers" in the nation, bar a few who were missing due to the current situation.
"I think its a very open field," he said "I think the racing at Avalon on Wednesday night showed that anyone can pop up.
"James McFadden is probably the form driver in the nation at the moment, but I think there will be plenty of guys pretty keen to go after him and see if they can knock him off the perch."
The annual Classic Breakfast to be held on Friday morning has sold out while the Fan Appreciation Day is on Saturday in the pits from 10am to 12pm. Both events will be held at Premier Speedway this year.
Mr Mills asked racegoers, who must be double vaxxed to attend, to follow COVID protocols, requesting masks be worn when not sitting with their family group and at all times when moving around the venue.
"Most importantly people need to realise that some of these guys have to return overseas in the next week to 10 days so we need to make sure the competitors are looked after," he said.
"They'll do everything they can to make sure it's a safe week for them and their crews, but for us to be able to do the breakfast and the Fan Appreciation Day we're going to need a bit of co-operation from the public to make sure our officials and staff, as well as the competitors, are safe throughout the course of the weekend, as well as themselves."
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