EMERALD'S Murray Herwin has been clocking up karting miles for quite some time.
This year alone he made three trips to Melbourne for kart competitions, not to mention the numerous trips around the Queensland countryside for race meets.
Soon however, he won't even have to leave town to race on what is arguably one of the premier kart-racing tracks in the country.
The Emerald Karting Club held its inaugural membership drive at the weekend, a 'show and shine' as it was described, ahead of the official opening of the new Central Highlands race facility on the outskirts of Emerald.
Every manner of kart was on show at the display, with club members eagerly fielding questions from curious onlookers.
Club numbers have grown exponentially as the track neared completion, with roughly 180 paying members now onboard for the new season. Fifteen to 20 of them signed up just last weekend.
But according to club member Danny Herwin, many, like him, are not there for the racing.
"A lot of them don't want to be drivers, they want to be flag marshals, time keepers… things like that," he said.
On Wednesday, club vice-president Dean Davies confirmed the first
racing session for licensed members at the new facility would be February 25, with the track's official opening set down for Saturday, February 4.
Davies said the feedback he received was "very positive", with many saying the facility was "overdue".
Many of the current club members have been racing for years from their home base in the Central Highlands.
Travel was a necessity to reach distant tracks for statewide tournaments, often consuming many weekends over the course of a season.
For Emerald karters such as Murray, the new track not only comes as a welcome relief to local karters' travel itineraries, it will also be huge boost for the sport in the region.
"It's definitely an advantage for local drivers having this as our home track," Murray said.
"Hopefully it will lift karting in the area."
For more information phone Dean Davies on 4987 4587.
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