Over the past two months, bushfires have wreaked havoc on thousands of Australians in New South Wales, their livelihoods lost as a result of the devastating natural disaster – and motorsport has not been spared its share of tragedy.
Among those who have been heavily impacted is Sydney Off Road Racing Association (SORRA). An off road club based in the region of Colo Heights who are now calling on the generosity of the entire motorsport community to help them bounce back from devastation.
The club, who has given so much to its members, now finds itself on its knees as some of the worst fires on record swept through the region and destroyed almost everything in their path.
SORRA suffered more than a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of damage to its equipment and facility – with only the ashy remains of its clubhouse, grater, water truck. tipper, backhoe truck and 50 cars left standing.
Making matters even worse, the club had only recently spent thousands of dollars to purchase heavy machinery to assist in fixing the track and to build more infrastructure, including a new timing tower.
However, with their hopes now dashed, the road to recovery begins for this club and president Shane Ramsay was finding it hard to comprehend the loss.
“It’s very disheartening. The fires came through with the vengeance and wiped everything out,” Ramsay said.
“We lost everything including our club house, Ross’ Barn, which was made in honour of one of our members who had recently passed away.
“Even things like fencing. You wouldn’t believe that the fencing would be all gone. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of fencing required to make our track safe for spectators is just warped and has to be redone.
“We didn’t think the damage was as bad as it was at first, but when we got to the track, it just looked like Armageddon. The place where I grew up and had my childhood. It’s all gone.
“To see the place like this, it just knocks you.”
Now with everything in need of a rebuild, the club has set up a GoFundMe page to gain assistance from the wider motorsport community in order to help them get back on track.
All donations are welcome as SORRA will be starting from scratch.
“We don’t hope for anything, but whatever we get is appreciated. Any funding would be a godsend,” Ramsay added.
“We’re not a big club, but our members have a lot of heart. We have a lot of people who put in a lot of time at their own expense into this club, as well as their heart and soul.
“If we can get enough money for a grater and a second hand backhoe, it would be great. The machinery is the main thing. We can live without buildings. But we need machinery to look after the track.
“The goal would be to get as much as we can get. However, a lot of people have lost more than we have and as a club, we are still giving to other people, because there are those who have lost houses.
“We lost something we do as a sport but there a lot of people who have lost their livelihood, so honestly we would be grateful for whatever.”
CAMS earlier this week donated $1500 to the cause, while CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca also personally donated to the club.
The club will be using the funding to purchase the machinery required to rebuild the important club facilities.