From Diecast Dreams To A Racetrack Reality – Speedhunters

The Power of Imagination

Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Majorette. Whatever your choice, racing toy cars on a carpet, building makeshift cities and imagining the perfect racetrack is a childhood memory that many of us hold close to our hearts. But for some, that dream never fades. it only gets bigger and stronger.

Sam Shahan was one such dreamer. As a young Palestinian refugee, his imagination echoed within the walls of his family home, an old gas station in Woodville, South Australia.


Here, Sam was surrounded by the smell of gasoline and the sounds of starting engines. Normally, it’s advised not to smell petrol fumes, but it seems that for Sam and his siblings, the octane inside sparked a passion for cars.


And during Sam’s lifetime, this one-of-a-kind Woodville family petrol station grew into the Perigrine Group – Australia’s largest private energy network, the country’s largest chain of private petrol stations and the country’s most successful oil empire.

I’m a firm believer in the saying “Money doesn’t change people, it just enhances their qualities.” While some of our dreams change as we grow older, The Bend Motorsport Park is proof that this inspirational child still lives inside Sam Shahan.

From dreams to asphalt


Risky as it sounds a bit cliche, The Bend Motorsport Park really is Sam’s great work, demonstrating his lifelong love of motorsport.


An hour’s drive from the tranquility of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, The Bend shines like a jewel in the wilderness. It has a stunning 7.77km (4.82 miles) track – one of the longest full-time tracks in the world – but trust me, it’s not just size that matters here.


The facility offers around 34 different circuit configurations, each catering to different motorsport disciplines. It’s a place that has echoes of iconic European and Middle Eastern tracks, but retains a decidedly Australian feel about it.


This is driving on a scale we simply don’t know in Australia. Imagine a facility that boasts not only a world-class track, but also a drag strip, drift arena, go-kart track, rally cross, 4WD adventure park, and even a hotel.


It’s like entering a motorsport utopia.

The Ultimate Round


During the hunt, I was lucky enough to be strapped into the passenger seat of a Lotus Evora to experience the main GT Circuit up close.


With fewer landmarks than most tracks for a new driver to use as brake markers, locking into the layout would be difficult at first, especially given the high speeds achieved on the longer sections.


But like all things worthwhile, after practice the track flows beautifully when spun by some experienced hands.


The straights are long and each set of turns presents the driver with a different set of challenges.


These straight sections remind me of the Fuji Speedway, the very different corner combinations remind me of the Nürburgring Nordschleife and the elevation changes of the lively mountain roads. There is no rival for this track in Australia.


British readers may laugh, but I had never ridden a Lotus before this. are not the most common things down.


The Bend was the perfect place to showcase and enhance both the Evora’s agility and straight-line power. What a ride.

Racing Towards The Future


With its state-of-the-art design, The Bend is not just another race track. Its sheer size is one thing, but the technology, safety measures and foresight built into every inch make it a contender for the highest echelon of global motorsport. The facility meets or exceeds every FIA specification and already hosts a number of international racing events.


Of course, Sam and the team behind The Bend would love the opportunity to one day host the Australian round of the Formula 1 World Championship. But let’s not get too early. We’re just dreamers, remember? For now, the team seems content to let everyone else pursue their dreams and enjoy the world-class facilities.

More than asphalt


Bend Motorsport Park is more than asphalt and engines. In an age where the thrill of driving is often overlooked for efficiency and automation, the installation stands tall, reminding us of the raw excitement, adrenaline and sheer love of cars and racing.


For South Australians, it’s a point of pride. For visitors, both seasoned professionals and curious first-timers, it’s an experience of a lifetime.


And for Sam? It’s the realization of a dream that started with cast cars on a rough floor.

Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham

#Diecast #Dreams #Racetrack #Reality #Speedhunters

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