Motorsport fans have spent Sunday being entertained by some of the world's biggest stars at the inaugural Perth Speed Fest. A 9000-strong crowd watched in awe as drivers and riders from 25 different forms of motorsport put their vehicles through their paces on the five custom tracks at Perth Motorplex.
Formula One fans were thrilled to see in action Western Australia’s own F1 ace Daniel Ricciardo, as well as Australia’s only living F1 world champion Alan Jones. In a historic moment, Jones kicked off Perth Speed Fest driving his father’s famous Maybach III as part of the 1950’s vintage display, while Ricciardo piloted the 2011 world-championship winning Red Bull Racing RB7 in a series of drag challenges.
Ricciardo said he enjoyed the atmosphere of the event and the vibe from his home crowd.
“It was really special to get out there and put on a show for the fans in Perth and bring the F1 car to them. The day was all about having a good time - and that's what we did," Ricciardo said.
"It’s not every day you get to see and drive against this many different cars and bikes. It was a fantastic day out there - I know the team all enjoyed themselves. A great way to wrap up the season for everyone at Red Bull Racing.”
The day culminated in a head to head between Ricciardo and local drag racing star Craig Glassby in his Top Alcohol Funny Car. Glassby previously held the world record for the fastest quarter mile, and built a new car to reclaim that title, which he hopes to do in the coming months.
Glassby was faster than Ricciardo in the ultimate test of speed by 1.764secs.
"My car is built to go fast and straight - of course it was great to beat Daniel, it's a story I'll be telling my friends for years to come," he said. "It would've been a different story if we had to turn around and come back - he would've had me covered, and time for a cup of tea I reckon!"
Also getting behind the wheel to put on a show for the crowds were V8 Supercar drivers and brothers Will and Alex Davison, V8 Supercar driver Nick Percat, V8 ute racer James Brock, Perth teenager and V8 Supercar driver Alex Rullo, World Rally driver Alister McRae and Asia Pacific Rally driver Dean Herridge.
The fun wasn’t just restricted to those on four-wheels, with Australian MotoGP rider Jack Miller and 2014 Australasian Superbike champion Wayne Maxwell both demonstrating first-class showmanship in an expression session on the tarmac.
Freestyle Motocross legend Josh Sheehan, the rider responsible for the world’s first triple backflip on a motorcycle, defied gravity with a series of breathtaking flips and tricks. West Australian Sheehan said he was thrilled to be able to participate in an event of such calibre in his home state.
“I am stoked to be here. I am a rev-head and love all things motorsport. I don’t get to do many local shows these days, so it’s pretty awesome to have an event like this in my home town.” said Sheehan.
“It was really exciting to walk around and see so many different elements of motorsport in one location.”
A panel of experts led the commentary with special insight from Greg Rust, Alan Jones and Daryl Beattie.
Entertainment on and off track was non-stop with 60 separate motorsport demonstrations, autograph signings and over 300 historic, classic, sports and modified cars on show.
Event Director Greg McNeil said that it was a terrific day that truly celebrated all manner of motorsport and motoring.
“It was nice as far as I was in a car that my father used to race, so that was quite nostalgic for me. It’s always nice to hop in and do some laps in it – as slow as it may be I never thought I would be beaten by an 1956 ‘whatever’ convertible.”
“I’m loving every minute – it’s been good fun to get on the track and put on a show for everybody. It feels like we are bringing back a taste of the old Rally Australia super stage.”
“It’s been an awesome day. So cool to have so much motorsport around and the variety of different vehicles and disciplines has been great. I’ve had a ball!”
"Yeah, it's been a great day, I've really enjoyed it. It's been great to hang out with other drivers and riders and just have a good time putting on a show."