A new speedway track in the small South Australian town of Bordertown has been hailed as among the best in Australia and even the world.

The whole town has got behind the venture over the past two-and-a-half years to recreate one of the best-known speedway tracks in the US on the border of South Australia and Victoria.

The Bordertown Speedway Club announced in 2019 that it was winding up because of increasing costs and difficulty attracting volunteers.

The revamped Tolmer Speedway from the air during Saturday’s test day.(Supplied: Chloe Rose)

But, in 2021, the club came up with idea of replicating the I-55 Raceway in Missouri — a track that Australian sprintcar racers who competed in the US had told him was their favourite.

President Wayne Rowett then travelled to Missouri and used a drone and a computer program to make a 3D image of it.

The new track at Bordertown’s Tolmer Speedway is exactly the same shape within 2–3 centimetres’ tolerance.

Sprintcars on the track during a test day on Saturday.(ABC South East SA: Eugene Boisvert)

It has a much wider track and steeper banking than almost any Australian speedway.

“The whole town’s behind it,” Mr Rowett said.

“Before we pulled the track out, it was worn out, it was unsafe to race on and the town didn’t want to see it go, so to see it rebuilt, everyone’s pretty happy to see it here and keen to support it.”

A test day for the new track was held on Saturday.

Racers impressed with track

Mr Rowett is hopeful interest in the track will spread around Australia and over to the US, where some racers come from to compete in the Australian Sprintcar Championship.

“Hopefully when the American racers come out – even the American racers like racing around there [the I-55 Raceway] – so hopefully it draws them here for sure,” he said.

Wayne Rowett has been leading the project to transform the Tolmer Speedway.(ABC South East SA: Eugene Boisvert)

Marcus Dumesny won the championship last year and has raced sprintcars in the US.

He tried out the track on Saturday and said it was “unbelievable” and much faster than most local tracks.

He estimated cars might be able to average 190 kilometres per hour around it during racing.

“To see the town pull this together is nothing short of a miracle and the complex that it is, it’s state-of-the-art, that’s for sure,” Dumesny said.

“It’s safe to say it’s definitely going to be one of the best tracks in Australia, if not the best.”

Sprintcar champion Marcus Dumesny says the new track is much faster than most.(ABC South East SA: Eugene Boisvert)

Help with funding and work

The revamp received $900,000 in combined funding from the South Australian government and the Tatiara District Council.

In total, the work was worth $3 million, including materials and labour contributed by local businesses.

Students from Bordertown High School worked on the project, learning skills like welding and concreting.

Jack Will, 15, said it was good working with friends on a real project that he hoped to race on one day.

“It’s something that interests us and a few years later we could be racing around something that we built, which would be pretty cool,” he said.

“We all like that what we’ve been doing is hands-on — it’s better than sitting in a classroom.”

Archer Colvill, 16, Hilton Rowett, 14, Jack Will, 15, and Cooper Williamson, 16, worked on the construction.(ABC South East SA: Eugene Boisvert)

Praise from veteran

David Ciampa was among those who built the previous track in 1974 that became known as “The Bullring” because of its small size.

But, he said, the new track would also develop its own reputation as one of the most popular.

“I love this one, this is magnificent,” he said.

“I reckon this would be in the top three or four in Australia. 

“I would say once it’s completely finished it would be in the top 10 in the world.”

More work still has to be done on installing fencing around the whole of the track, landscaping and installing grandstands.

A race will be held at the Tolmer Speedway as part of Sprintcar Speedweek on December 27.

The club estimates about 6,000 people will attend, or about double the population of Bordertown.

Get our local newsletter, delivered free each Friday

Posted , updated