It's time to bring the pride back to our streets
THE prospect of Speed on Tweed returning to the streets of Murwillumbah brings with it some high octane expectations.
The annual event started with a degree of trepidation, with businesses worried about the town being transformed into a motorhead haven.
However it didn't take long before 'Speed', as it was best known, was embraced not only by the local community but by the shire.
Each year, there was a genuine air of excitement ahead of the event with checkered flags and bunting going up on posts, banners across the streets, businesses "dressing up”, stands and a pedestrian bridge erected over the course, while an influx of motoring enthusiasts flooded the town to see all manner of motor vehicles lining up to take on the challenging course in a race against the clock.
The showgrounds became a living, breathing motor museum with spectators getting up close to vintage and classic racers.
The action was contained in a tight circuit which started from the showground, raced past Taylors Corner, up the hill, onto the main street, past the school and back down to the ground on a 1.2km circuit that tested drivers and their machines - all done in 60 seconds or less.
For Murwillumbah, Speed at its height, before the infamous involvement of Rally Australia, brought a carnival atmosphere involving car parades, street parties and businesses caught up in the hype and excitement that comes from car racing.
It brought an energy only rivalled by the glory days of the Banana Festival to Murwillumbah.
It also brought thousands of people together, visitors and locals, whether they were 'rev heads' or not and generated a welcome economic boost for local businesses.
The demise of Speed left a void in the town and while there have been other cultural events held successfully to take its place - the roar of engines and the hoopla that goes with motorsport generates its own unique atmosphere.
No doubt, not everyone will be happy about the return of Speed and the disruption it may cause but the dynamic energy it will bring back to Murwillumbah and the sense of pride that will follow can't be underestimated.
I for one can't wait!