Recently-saved Melbourne Raceway transformed by £180,000 in donations

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York-based drag racing venue Melbourne Raceway has blasted back into action after a massive fundraising effort saved it from extinction – and the team behind it have just agreed a fresh 10-year lease on the site.

Set up in the late 1970s, the track was resurrected by UK drag racing club Straightliners after it shut up shop in 2017. Straightliners raised enough cash to transform the site, as well as install a fresh tarmac strip to the right of the old sprint surface.

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"Straightliners is 23-years-old and we’ve never had a permanent home, but we have now," club founder, Trevor Duckworth, told MCN. "We’ve got a completely new tarmac surface. It’s superb and everybody has sung its praises."

Trevor Duckworth cuts the ribbon at Melbourne Raceway

The club put out a plea for support in August 2019 (see below) and have since received an estimated £180,000 from well-wishers – both in donations, as well as discounts on materials and people volunteering their time and services. The largest of these cash donations from an individual was a generous £20,000.

"Without the support of all these people then Melbourne just couldn’t have happened," Trevor continued. "It’s unbelievable. I’ve been in this sport for 50 years and it’s very, very humbling."

One of only two permanent drag racing venues in the UK, Straightliners have now signed a fresh lease at the site and have already run their first Covid-friendly meetings for 2020.

Although currently only able to run eighth-of-a-mile races, the organisers plan to extend the tarmac braking zone to run quarter-mile competitions, too – requiring a further £30,000 investment.

Trevor continued: "All we have to do is raise a bit more money. We’ve got lots to do, but we’ll get there."

To help support the cause, head to: www.straightliners.events


Dragged up to date: Crowdfunding set up for Melbourne Raceway, York

First published on 1 January, 2020 by Jordan Gibbons

A classic shot of Melbourne Raceway

A massive fundraising campaign is underway to help get racing back to Melbourne Raceway. The track (formerly knowns as York) was set up in the late 70s and went on to become one of the most iconic drag racing strips in the UK.

Sadly in 2017 Melbourne Raceway had to close down leaving many enthusiasts heartbroken and wondering if this was indeed the end of an era. But there is hope at the end of the runway.

The Straightliners, the UK's premier land speed and drag racing club, have teamed up with the UK Timing Association (UKTA), official timing organisation of the UK, to launch a funding campaign. Their dream is to help the community rebuild and bring back Melbourne Raceway to a fully functioning drag racing venue in the North of England.

Burnout at the Melbourne Raceway

They also want to preserve its place in history and our heritage, as the track has borne witness to some of the most adrenaline fuelled battles in drag racing history with awe inspiring stories of courage and determination.

With the UK’s only other drag venue - Santa Pod - facing its own set of challenges, the future of domestic drag racing is in jeopardy.

It has been estimated that £100,000 will be enough to repair two 1/8th mile drag strips and pit lanes. So far, thanks to donations from the community £35,000 has been raised leaving a £65,000 shortfall.

Melbourne Raceway today

Straightliners and the UKTA are doing their utmost to find additional sources of funding but ultimately it will be down to those who have a passion for the sport to save it.

If you think that could be you then please contact trevor@straightliners.co.uk who can give you more information. In the event the fundraising drive is not successful all monies donated will be returned.

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade