(Editor’s note: 360s Australian Sprintcar All Stars operator Mandy Searle has raised some issues relating to the future identity of 360 Sprintcars in Australia. Her editorial discusses some poignant matters and provides some interesting reading. She is entitled to her viewpoint and offers a strong opinion in the best interest of the sport.)
By Mandy Searle (Australian 360 Sprintcar All Stars operator)
The 360s have been part of Australian Sprintcar history for many years, starting as a fledgling new division back in the early-to-mid 90s.
From that very humble beginning, the class rose in strength, status and popularity to what it is today!
With the numbers growing so quickly, the first 360 Australian Championship was introduced in 2004, run and won at Timmis Speedway, Mildura, by Stephen Bell.
Across four states, 18 more Aussie titles have been held with – Jamie Cobby, Ryan Jones, Allan Barlee, Tony Moule, Chad Ely, Kayden Manders – just to name a few proud winners.
All of these drivers loyal 360 racers.
State titles have been run and won – and too many to mention. Dedicated 360 Series have been introduced in two states and multiple series champions crowned.
The fact is 360s have been competing in Australia for longer than 410s!
The class has had more rule changes than it would have cared for over the years, all supposedly for the betterment of the division, and most drivers would disagree with this, but the loyalty and dedication of these racers has made them stand strong and still continue to build. So now we move into another era and another insult for these teams. A couple of years ago the Sprintcar Control Council of Australia (SCCA) introduced another engine specification into their rule book and now finally these engine rules have been completed.
Conversation was had as what to call this new class of engine that had been slotted in under the 360 umbrella and into the SCCA rulebook. The SCCA executives arrived at the name Pro Sprints.
But whilst doing this in their wisdom, they have decided to re-brand 360s also – Pro Sprints.
The first question is why?
Why do 360s have to undergo a name change?
Why would the introduction of another engine specification mean 360s have to lose their identity?
Why change the name of a known section that has been successfully running for years?
Why change the name of a proven class to incorporate a new division?
One might ask:
Where is the SCCAs support or loyalty to a division that has been racing for almost 30 years (and known nationally for a long time as 360s)?
Where is the support of the hundreds and hundreds of competitors who join them each year?
Where is the respect for the past 360 Australian Champions?
Where is the respect for our history?
We are disappointed and question why?
So, yes, we as the Australian 360 All Star Series, wear our heart on our sleeves