For the last few years, it’s been a Changing of the Guard, for me, so to speak, from the tarmac to the clay.

From a very early age, I have always loved speed and here in Timaru, we were lucky enough to have a circuit close by, where I was a frequent spectator, to watch and listen to the good ole V8s roar around the track.

I Flag Marshalled for the first time one year when I was 15 years old, which got me very close to the action, right there in the thick of it, on the edge of the track. That was the only time I did that for reasons which are about to reveal themselves.

As we all know, Motorsport is dangerous, and that’s part of the thrill of the adrenaline rush of speed with close racing, and even though I was only marshalling, I was hit for a six by an out-of-control V8 travelling at 160km/h after a tyre blow out.

I sustained a number of injuries, including loss of memory for a couple of weeks after falling from the sky and coming down headfirst into the ground. Once I healed, back to the track I went, this time content as a spectator.

Daz McGrath with American teen sensation Joel Myers Jr.

It wasn’t the accident that put me off marshalling; it was the boredom of standing in one spot and not being able to get around and see racing from many angles.


As well as becoming a frequent spectator to many circuits in New Zealand, I also toured Australia for several years. I was lucky enough to get to many of the V8 racing circuits, from Queensland to Melbourne and the most iconic place of all, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, with 14 visits.

That place will always be firmly implanted in my veins and, as many have seen, firmly planted in my skin by “The Brocky Tribute” tattoo, which covers my entire back.

Returning to my hometown, Timaru, a few years ago, something was changing in how I got my ‘fix’ with motor racing. The good ole circuit racing had lost something; it wasn’t the racing that I remember back in the day, as it seemed to me to be much following each other around.

I found myself spending a lot more time on the road to the likes of Christchurch’s Woodford Glen Speedway, and by crikey, this was the changing of the guard. As the old saying said, “Tarmac is for getting there, Clay is for racing”, and this was it; Speedway was back in my sight after many years of not attending. Over the last five or so years, I have spent many Saturdays at Speedway venues, and this is by far the ultimate in motor racing.

One thing with Speedway, which is fantastic for the likes of a spectator, is that the whole racing circuit can be seen in such a short distance from one viewpoint, and the racing that comes out of those Pit gates always has action, no matter what the class.

What feeds my addiction to the ‘Need for Speed’ is the good old sound of a V8; there’s nothing quite like an “8 Pot Symphony” cranking around such a small circuit, with balls to the wall racing. The two that really grab me are the Modifieds and the Sprintcars, which, in my view, are the best racing there is.

Both classes carry massive tyres and foils on the front with huge roof fins on top, and the horsepower beneath is the good ole V8. Modifieds run a smaller cubic inch and carry more weight, but the Grandaddy of Speedway are the Sprintcars, which can produce up and around 900HP.

On a light body, these really are the ultimate of the speedway, with entry speeds of 160+ km/h cranking into a corner and exiting just as fast, with a large group in most races, there is nothing as exciting as seeing Sprintcars in action, nothing.

The great thing also, we all cheer on the first, second and third as they fill the top 3 on the Podium, but back in the pack, there are some wicked great battles and when you get high speed on such a small area, where all are chasing that black and white chequered flag. Controlled or uncontrolled, it can become mayhem in the blink of an eye; It’s hell on wheels in spectacular fashion.

As many may have seen via my videos, I spend most of my spare time at Speedway, with a camera firmly planted in my hand, in which I try to capture it and get close to the action. Still, one thing a camera cannot do, which gives you the absolute adrenaline hit of the atmosphere, is the full-blown sound and the huge rush of wind as these winged warriors power on past you at a colossal pace.

I’m certainly in no hurry to get back to circuit racing, I really do believe I have fully retired from circuit racing, but I know one thing, I can’t wait for the 2023/24 season of Speedway.

Another fantastic thing you see at Speedway is the terrific folk who run the event and a great number of spectators who line the caged arena there for the same reason as most, to see and have an exciting night of racing.

For those that have never been to Speedway, my advice is “Get Your Backside Trackside” because, throughout New Zealand, we have plenty of speedway action, awesome people, great classes of cars and a great night of full-on entertainment.