Speedway Sedans Australia's History
Speedway Sedans Australia has a rich history, as the peak body of Sedan Car racing in Australia. Formerly known as the Australian Saloon Car Federation (ASCF), the peak body was formed in 1968. From its humble beginnings it now has six National Categories, being Junior Sedans, Street Stock, Production Sedans, Modified Productions, Super Sedans, and as of 1 July 2011, 4 Cylinder Sedans.
The first National Sedan Title was held three years after the ASCF was formed, in Canberra 3 October 1971, won by Kevin Dalton of Victoria. Canberra, interestingly enough, have only hosted two National titles with the second being 23 years after the first in 1995.
Three years after the first Sedan Title, a second Sedan National Title would be held in 1975 for Standard Saloons. Ian Coatsworth of Victoria was successful at Warrnambool.
Sedan numbers in the 1970s were incredibly strong, witnessed by capacity crowds on Friday and Saturday nights across the Nation, with many drivers being household names.
The ASCF moved with the times, identifying it needed to keep pace changing the name of the Open Sedans, which were also known as Division 1, to Super Sedans, while Standard Saloons became better known as Modified Productions in 1984. During the mid 1980s Grand National Sedans commenced, and as an ASCF category they lasted for five to six years. Towards the end of their existance, many Super Sedan competitors dabbled in the category, as Australian drivers contemplated the left hand drive option. In the end, Super Sedans would be the drivers choice.
Other categories commenced soon after with the Technical committee of the day, forming Street Stock in 1985, with their first National Title held in 1990 at Warrnambool. The popularity of this category was instantaneous, the first National category to race in both directions. Neil Hoffman of South Australia won the first of his two National Titles at this event, winning again in 1993.
Modified Productions continued to be very strong, but budget racers could not compete at the highest level, or remain competitive. The Technical Committee then created Production Sedans, which instantly became a hit in 1996 particularly in Western Australia, who have to this day, held the bulk of the competitors. Five years after they were formed, John Higgins was successful in Mildura in the first National Production Sedan Title.
In 2000, the controlling Body had its first female President, with Denise Garratt at the helm.
The technical body, was embarking on its greatest achievement by creating Junior Sedans in the late 1990s. It took several years to formalise the specificatons which would be suitable to children between the age of 10-17. The minimum age would be standardised only in 2006. Western Australia, who have records of Junior Sedan Titles dating back to 1978, would host the first Title at the Collie Speedway in 2003. Todd Waddell of Western Australia would be successful, and would go on to win the 2004 and 2005 Titles as well.
In 2004, the Australian Saloon Car Federation, decided to change its Structure, with the President becoming the CEO, while State delegates would become Board Members with Portfolios.
The ASCF, formed in 1968 with the aim to standardise the rules for all speedway sedan divisions
Throughout Australia, had now become the largest Speedway association in Australia with over 6000 members, but didn't have a vision statement. At the end of a strategic planning meeting, the Statement of "The ASCF is the leading governing organisation in speedway sedan racing; fostering, promoting and uniting the sport throughout Australia" was adopted.
The ASCF would be recognised as providing unified management of Accreditation, Racing rules, Safety standards, Specifications and Training, for speedway sedan racing in Australia.
In 2006, the ASCF as part of the restructure, would become Speedway Sedans Australia, after two years of debate. National Titles at the same meeting of 2006, would also change, moving from a 5 Heat Format and one Final, to a 4 Heat Format, with three Finals, to give drivers who may have had an issue in the heats, still an opportunity to make the final. This would be never so true, than the National Street Stock Title of 2010, which saw Jamie Oldfield of Western Australia, win all three finals to win the Australian Title. One year later Max Clarke almost replicated Oldfield, by coming from the C Main and B Main to win the A Main.
2006 would be a big year, with the www.salooncar.com website turned off, and www.speedwaysedans.com created to provide more information for both competitors and the public. The website unfortunately didn't keep pace with the rest of the world, until Jason Crowe of Western Australia put up his hand in 2008 to update the site, with a position created in 2009.
In 2009 a friend of Jason's was not able to get to the Australian Super Sedan Title in Lismore, and wanted to know if it could be broadcast on the internet. With no cables or gadgetry to do the job, a trip to a local computer store, would change the way Speedway could be heard into the future. From its humble beginnings of a maximum of 50 people listening to the first broadcast, live Internet Broadcasts are now expected every weekend, with the popularity showing no signs of abating, with more than 900 IP addresses logged in to the 2011 Australian Street Stock Title.
In 2011 a sixth category was added to the Speedway Sedans Australia family. 4 Cylinder Sedans, who were already existing on the East Coast, predominantly in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, were adopted by the SSA as the availability of this car on the Australian roads, would be readily available for potential competitors, and easily recognisible to the public.
After eight years as CEO Neil Sayer was defeated in a ballot by Paul Gannon at the AGM held in September 2011.
In 2012, Jarrod Harper wins arguably the best ever Super Sedan Australian Title Final which after an initial stoppage on the opening lap, went the full 40 laps without a stoppage, with all 19 cars that started the restart finishing the race, with only two cars lapped in the entire race. Harper defeated Lachlan Onley, Matt Pascoe and Wayne Randall who were all fighting for the lead in the last 10 laps.
In 2013, the Super Sedan Australian Title Final went one better, with not one stoppage in the 40 lap main event, with all twenty cars finishing.
The year would also see Street Stock driver, Anthony Beare of South Australia create plenty of history. Beare, based in Mt Gambier, won the Tasmanian Street Stock Title and in doing so became the first driver in Speedway Sedans Australia's history to win a State Title in every State. A week later he would win the South Australian title, and by winning that, he became the current holder of every State Title. He would finish runner-up in the National Title, and would follow that up by winning the Victorian Title for the third year in a row, which has never been achieved before.
In May 2013, Speedway Sedans Australia accepts major sponsorship deal with Lucas Oil Products to support Junior Sedan racing.
In September 2013, Tasmanian President Greg Lynd was elected as the CEO of Speedway Sedans Australia, deposing Paul Gannon, who served a two year term in a secret ballot.
On 15 November 2013, Live Online Nominations were accepted for the first time for National Titles.
April 2014, Speedway Sedans Australia created more history with the first live streaming on the internet of a National Sedan Title, with courtesy of Power Productions, with the broadcast of the Australian Super Sedan Tilte. Meanwhile, Speedway Sedans Australia's flagship Live Audio became so popular, a second channel was created, to give listeners more options.
In October 2015, Speedway Sedans Australia reached an agreement with beyondblue, to help raise awareness of anxiety, depression and suicide.
The Australian Street Stock Title in 2016 broke all records in Australian Speedway, with the largest ever nomination list, with 139 drivers entering for the event held at the Redline Raceway, Ballarat. The resultant finish will go down as the greatest finish of all time, with Anthony Beare defeating Brad McClure by a mere 0.019 of a second, the closest of all time in National Title history.