From burnouts to wild conversions, the Gatton Sprints is one of the coolest grassroots motorsport events in Oz

Photographers: Rick Welch

LOCATED in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley, about half-an-hour east of Toowoomba, the Gatton Sprints have been running since 2000, thanks to the Downs Motorsport Club.

While primarily a very cool street sprint-type event, it also incorporates a great burnout competition that has been steadily growing. This year saw a number of high-profile cars from interstate attending, including Mad Mick Brasher in his Corolla and Ryan Pearson in HOLDON.

What separates this event from most is the fact that the local council lets them close down the streets to run the 1000m sprints during the day and then burnouts at night.

“The council is right behind it,” club president Warren Gersekowski says. “It’s great for the town because all those entrants, crew and spectators bring a lot of money to the local community, and we raise a lot of money for local charities as well.”

In previous years there’s been a healthy crowd in attendance, but the weather kept the figures abnormally low this year. “We had a bit of rain this time,” Warren says, “so the crowd was down, but the event itself is getting bigger every year. We had a truck full of cars come up from down south for the burnouts this year, and I reckon we’ll have a couple of trucks next year. We had Brasher out there doing powerskids on the sprint circuit during the breaks and the crowd loved it.”

The winner of the burnouts was Ryan Pearson with HOLDON, followed by Justin Paige in the TYRKILR ute and then Mark Gibbins’s MATER. In the street sprints, Neville Scott’s Subaru took the overall win ahead of Michael McMillan’s Mitsubishi Lancer and Stephen Faulk’s Subaru.

While the organisers had to move the date this year so it didn’t conflict with a local event, Warren reckons they will be back on the second weekend in March next year. So mark your calendars, and make sure you get along there next time.

Check out Matt Gilmour’s twin-turbo V8 RX-7 taking on the street sprints in the video below.