Speedway skills help Aaron
AARON Knox has been a junior speedway driver for two years, and grandmother Edna Schaeffer believes the skills he picked up there helped prevent a serious accident.
Having got his learner's licence just three weeks earlier, Knox was being supervised by Schaeffer when tragedy almost struck on the corner of Powell and Milton streets in Grafton.
"About three weeks ago I was supervising Aaron while he was driving, when we came up to an intersection," Schaeffer said.
"A car came from the left, completely ignored the give-way sign and drove straight towards us.
"They appeared to be heading for a head-on collision, but Aaron's speedway skillscame to the fore.
"Aaron broke before anyone else could react to the situation," she said.
"I thought there was absolutely no way we were going to avoid it."
Schaeffer said the reason Knox could keep control of the car, as well as avoid the accident, was because of his speedway driving.
"In my mind, that is the main reason why things didn't end up as bad as it could have," she said.
"He was as cool as a cucumber - completely unflustered."
Grafton Speedway vice-president Laurie Burge is convinced that skills learned on the track can increase driver safety on the road.
"The kids are taught not only how to race on a speedway track, but the general rules of the road," Burge said.
Burge has trained more than 150 junior speedway competitors, with some going on to be state and national champions.
"I've done it for 12 years and I still get a thrill over it," he said.
The junior driving course (photo above) covers not only how to drive, but driver safety, emergency drills and an intense theory session.
Burge said the main goal of the program was to increase road safety and to give drivers somewhere to race.
"It's about getting the hoons off the street. From a safety point of view, I'd rather them do it on the track than the road because the conditions are somewhat controlled."