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Mud racing event near Rockhampton unlikely victim of Queensland drought

Emilia Terzon, Wednesday August 22, 2018 - 06:16 EST
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The drag and twin track mud racing events have been held at Kabra in central Queensland for decades. - ABC

It looks dirty — yet a unique outback car race held in central Queensland is battling a lack of gooey mud and might be called off due to dry conditions.

The mud racing event at Kabra, west of Rockhampton, has been going for two decades.

Veteran mud driver Roger Langley helped build the race track in 1996 after he got hooked on the sport.

He prefers to race Falcons — and never Commodores — that he buys for cheap and does up in of the sport.

Those behind the wheels range in age from veterans like Mr Langley through to young children, including his 10-year-old grandson, Samuel.

"It's family time and it's fun in the mud," Mr Langley said.

But to make the perfect amount of mud, you need enough water on the dirt track, and that has been very scarce right across Queensland this year.

Kabra is on the cusp of a drought-declared region and .

At last weekend's quarterly meet, the track was the driest Mr Langley had ever seen it.

"I've been pumping water out here for five weeks to try and fill all these moats up, so we can pump onto the track," he said.

"It's so dry. There's water there but as soon as you put it into the moats, it's just just drying out."

Race organiser, Sarah Schuemaker, said the dry race track was not a hazard but it definitely was not in the spirit of the sport.

"There's certainly a lot of dust, which isn't so pleasant for everybody watching," she said.

The costs of pumping bore water due to the dry ground and lack of rainfall had put their fuel costs "through the roof", she added.

Ms Schuemaker is now unsure if they will be able to afford their next scheduled meet in November.

Drought cancelling events in region

Other events right across central Queensland have been called off due to the dry conditions, such as the Twin Hill Races, Rodeo and Show.

That event was set for next month and was one of the biggest events in Clermont's social calendar.

Kabra mud race's loud and enthusiastic race caller, Peter Pomeroy, owns a farm in the region.

"We're buying in loads of round bales. But there's people worse off still and your heart goes out to them," he said.

"It's devastating and we've all got to pray for rain."

Ms Schuemaker said that, while water should be prioritised for direct industry, it was a blow to regional communities when events did not go ahead during tough times.

"People have to have an outlet. They still have to have some kind of entertainment," she said.

"For a lot of these guys, they are guys who work hard jobs, long hours, shift work. For them, this is their family time, their outlet, this is the thing they live for.

"That's one joy in life and it's worth that bit of an outlet."


© ABC 2018

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