Oakburn Park Raceway: satisfying speed need at lap dash

Young, clean cut and well spoken, Jono Norton and Scott Leary are revheads 2.0.

LEAD FOOTS: Mates Scott Leary and Jono Norton will contest the lap dash at the second round of the Tamworth Sporting Car Club series at Oakburn Park Raceway on Sunday.

LEAD FOOTS: Mates Scott Leary and Jono Norton will contest the lap dash at the second round of the Tamworth Sporting Car Club series at Oakburn Park Raceway on Sunday.

It’s easy to see why the organisers of Sunday’s lap dash at Oakburn Park Raceway chose the Tamworth locals to promote the event, which is round two of the Tamworth Sporting Car Club series.

The lap dash has been framed as a chance for young men in street-registered cars to floor it on a racetrack instead of on a road.

Norton, 24, concurs. The road-legal Skyline driver, who teaches at Carinya Christian School, said: “If you look at the long weekend, the fact that 230 people got done for speeding, it means that it doesn’t matter what the repercussions are, people are still gonna be quick.

“And I don’t think they do it because they want to beat anyone. I think they do it because as humans we enjoy pushing the limit. So I think having track-day events is a really positive way to do that in a safe environment.”

New England is a revhead paradise, Norton said, a beguiling tarmac oasis where drivers test themselves on three distinctly different tracks at Tamworth, Gunnedah and Armidale.

He and his fellow racers are “blessed” to have easy access to such a redline bounty, he added. “You can go racing two or three times a month,” he said. “And I think if you don’t have that outlet in a safe, controlled environment, unfortunately it does leak out on the street.”

Leary, 28, gravitated towards racing like a headbanger to a Parkway Drive concert – willingly manhandled by a desire to supplement his lifelong love of cars with a speed thrill.

So on weekdays he throws on a nice shirt and pants to work as a file manager at Nicholls & Co chartered accountants in Peel Street, and on every weekend he gets a chance he dons racing gear.

“I’ve always just enjoyed the automative industry as a whole,” he said. “So racing being the competitive aspect of that, I just naturally fell into it, I guess.”

That only happened two years ago. Watching motorsport did nothing for him, but a “nice looking” car turns his head quicker than a Holden down Conrod Straight. And although he had no racing experience, he knew he wanted to go much quicker than the law allows. 

“It’s (racing) an excellent feeling … going fast and obtaining those skills and getting better at something is always good,” he said.