A compromise on noise levels has been reached which will bring night-time speedway racing back to Canberra's Fairbairn Park this summer.
The National Capital Motorsports Club spent around $150,000 on building large dirt mounds to mitigate the noise issue and, under a new agreement with the ACT Environmental Protection Authority, three race meetings have been scheduled from December through to April.
Although the club wanted six meetings, the late approval forced them to wind back their aspirations this summer to allow their dates to fit into the national calendar and thereby attract more entrants from interstate.
For club vice-president Murray Johnson, the approval marks the culmination of more than a decade of discussions and patient lobbying.
This time last year a trial night meeting at the Pialligo Avenue speedway attracted around 2000 people but hopes were dashed when the noise exceeded the stipulated levels at the measuring site near the Ridgeway residential area, above the track.
"We really see night meetings as the key to getting people back to speedway and we were hugely disappointed when we exceeded the maximum [noise level]," Mr Johnson said.
"After that, we thought we were done and dusted."
But persistence, it seems, brings its own reward and support for the speedway came from a most unexpected quarter: Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury.
"We sat down with Shane [Rattenbury] and clearly he had done his homework on this issue before the meeting. We explained that our track is no different from other sporting venues such as Manuka Oval, where there are nearby residents to consider," Mr Johnson said.
"He [Mr Rattenbury] listened carefully to what we had to say and, with the EPA, we reached an agreement on a noise credit system which we, as a club, will need to self-manage to make it work."
A strict curfew will apply at 10.30pm for each of the three meetings, and the club's scrutineers will be noise-testing each car before it goes on the track.
"Generally speaking, the competitors' cars are pretty good for noise levels but as soon as the ambient noise starts to decline around 8 to 8.30pm, that's when we find our levels rise accordingly," he said.
"But we've now got a system in place and it's up to us, as a club, to make it work."
Canberra and its nearby region, including the former and famous Tralee track in NSW, just over the former railway line from the Hume industrial area, has a long and proud history of speedway racing.
There's cautious hopes now of a minor revival with sedans, Legend cars and junior sedans certain to be on the schedule for the first night meeting on December 14.
The secretary of the Oaks Estate progress association, Hugh Griffin, expressed disappointment that Mr Rattenbury, whose Kurrajong electorate includes the generally poor, working class suburb, didn't act as promptly on a number of pressing concerns in his community as he has on the nearby speedway.
"We have been trying to get traction with Mr Rattenbury on a number of pressing issues for people who live in Oaks Estate but without success," Mr griffin said.