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Keith revs up for high-octane country festival

March 22, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Thousands of rev heads from around Australia are expected to be in Keith on Saturday for a much-loved annual motorsport event with a distinctly country feel.

The small country town about 250km southeast of Adelaide in South Australia will host its eighth Diesel and Dirt Derby, which will be headlined by the opening round of the 2019 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship.

But the spectacle of the Superboat racing is just one element of a day that boasts an amazing array of motorsport including tractor pulls, Motocross, lawnmower racing, ute muster, an aerobatic display and a demolition derby of harvesting headers.

The Keith Showground event began in 2012 in a bid to turn around the fortunes of the struggling Keith & Tintinara District Show, which is held in October.

The jet boat track was built in the corner of the showground in time for the 2017 event despite being hundreds of kilometres from any watercourse. It also hosted a round of the Superboat World Championship last year.

Keith Diesel and Dirt Committee Chairman Glen Simpson said jet boats from New Zealand would compete at this year’s Diesel and Dirt after racing at the Keith track during the World Championships last year.

“We’re taking it up a level with the competitors in the tractors and boats this year,” Simpson said.

“We’ve got some 8000-horsepower tractors that have been imported from Canada coming to compete in the Modified Tractor Pull and we’ve got up to 20 headers in the demolition derby from as far away as Horsham, Wudinna and Maitland on the Yorke Peninsula so we’re getting away from just the Keith people competing.

“We’re hoping for 8000 – 10,000 people and the weather is looking perfect at 28C so it should be a good family day out.”

Located on the main highway linking Adelaide and Melbourne, Keith is usually a sleepy farming town with a population of just 1200.

The growth of the annual derby has helped raise vital funds for the community and paid for a number of vital improvements to the showground, which has in turn helped attract national motorsport organisations including the Australian Tractor Pullers Association and the Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association.

But it’s not all about loud engines and petrol fumes with other attractions at the March 23 event including live music, a ladies pavilion and sideshows.

Pre-booked tickets are $40 for Adults, $15 for school aged children and $100 for a family of four.

Gates open at 7.30am.

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