Archerfield drift park wanna to close by 29 January
Located on Brisbane’s south side next to Archerfield Airport, Archerfield Drift Park has been a treasured location for fans of the sidewinding sport for 15 years. Run by former Aussie Drift Champion Luke Fink, the Park sits on a parcel of land adjacent to (and leased from) the historic Archerfield Speedway. Now it is facing a forced closure.
“Archerfield Speedway has been in its location for 50-60 years, and we’ve been drifting here for 15 years,” Luke says. “Brisbane City Council told the Speedway, not us, that there should never have been drifting allowed on this land because in 1974 the land was zoned as a car park and a squash court. Their argument is that we can’t run drifting on that land because the Speedway needs that land to park cars. But we have never run drift and Speedway events at the same time, and couldn’t if we wanted to!”
Luke says Brisbane City Council has known Archerfield has hosted drift events for years, so its argument and approach to this issue doesn’t pass the pub test.
“Archerfield Speedway had a big legal battle with the council in 2014, and in the final meeting, the council set down what times we could run Speedway and drift events. So they’ve known we have been drifting here this whole time.”
While things were peachy for the past few years, everything changed in 2020. “In June of this year, a new town planner started at the Brisbane City Council and tried to push the noise issue, but the Speedway carried out testing to show we comply with all the required levels.
“This town planner has gone back through all the paperwork and found zoning from 1974. He came to the track telling me how pro-motorsport he was but never mentioned that zoning issue, or how he wanted to shut the Drift Park down. After that, he rang the Speedway and told them they cannot have drifting at the Drift Park!
“As far as paperwork is concerned, he is in his rights to do what he has done. But the Council needs to explain how this mistake was allowed to occur for 15 years. The Drift Park never got a phone call over this.”
Luke points to the huge benefits of giving Brissiebased drifters somewhere safe to practice their craft. “We have guys doing the right thing at the track who had been on the limit of going to jail from doing dumb stuff on the street,” he says. “We also talk a lot about the mental health benefits of having the track and fostering the community within drifting, because it helps so much, even if people aren’t drifting and are just coming down to the track to be a part of this community.”
After the drifting scene heard about the proposed closure, an online campaign began to let Brisbane City Council know what a treasured piece of community infrastructure Archerfield Drift Park is. However, the replies from Council only increased frustration among drifters.
“People have been messaging the Council and they get a nonsensical reply telling them the Council supports drifting and that everyone can go drifting in the Speedway, which is a dirt oval,” Luke explains. “It’s like telling people to go play cricket in the ocean!”
While the letter from BCC orders drifting to cease from 29 January, Luke isn’t folding his tents and going quietly into the night.
“Worldwide we have had a lot of support, sending in emails to the Mayor’s office and the like,” he says. “Even if we could get another year on our lease and have BCC help us find somewhere else to do this, that would be awesome. I have funding to build another track, so it isn’t a case where we need financial help. I own all the infrastructure at the track, so we could take that elsewhere. We need a space where we can go drifting without upsetting people, and this is really the key.”
If you want to support grassroots motorsport in Australia, sign the petition to save Archerfield Drift Park at Change.org.