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Published May 13th 2012
[ADVERT]Taking into consideration how wonderful my partner had been to me through my less than wonderful pregnancy, I decided I would indulge his inner adrenaline junkie a bit for his birthday and purchased a V8 Race Experience to drive 4 laps in a V8 race car via Red Balloon.
I was told that Mallala Race way was in Edwardstown SA. Thinking that this was strange as I had never heard of the V8 races being so close to the city, I Google mapped it and sure enough, Mallala Raceway comes up in Edwardstown.
WARNING! This is not the right race way. Mallala is situated a good 1 and 1 /2 hours out of Adelaide towards Port Wakefield. Considering that my booking was for around 8:00am, this meant an extremely early alarm and negotiating horrible traffic and a long drive to the race track.
The other thing was that on the booking confirmation was a paragraph stating that the experience could be cancelled at any time due to poor weather conditions making the track unsafe. This would not have been an issue apart from the fact our experience was due to start at 8:00am and the office is not open until 9am to confirm your booking is going ahead.
The raceway also has a pre recorded number where you can ring and check if the weather is going to affect your race, however it was not updated until about 20 minutes before the experience was due to start, which meant that you were already well on your way before you knew if you were going to be racing or not.
After driving like a rally driver myself to get my partner there on time without actually knowing if he was going to get to drive, we were greeted by friendly staff who assured us that even if we had been late or the weather a problem they would have slotted us in to the next session as the experience is run all day (this is not noted on your experience voucher).
Thankfully finding parking was very easy and my partner and I went to the main office for him to sign away his life on two different forms. He also opted to pay $49 to have his drive recorded on USB and a professional photo taken with the car he drove. We waited around for about 45 minutes while the first session was in practice and enjoyed a delicious steak sandwich and a cappuccino from the reasonably priced kiosk.
From here my partner was then led away for a safety briefing and a fitting of proper race car driver attire while I waited undercover at a table and chairs. Once they had all been briefed we all headed over to where they wait for their cars. You have an option of driving either a Holden or Ford.
There is a quick chance of a photo opportunity for the bystanders to get of their friends or family by and in their cars before they take off. I then recommend heading over to the grandstand on the other side of the race track to get the best photos as the concrete barriers will block a lot of your view once they are on the race track.
Once they are on the track 4 laps goes very fast and the experience was over in less than ten minutes much to my partner's disappointment. We discovered that a lot of people cashed in multiple vouchers so they could have more time on the track and build up their confidence and get the most out of the experience. If we did it again, I would definitely book more time on the track to make the drive out there worthwhile.
Some things to consider for this experience:
It's a long way to travel so think about making it worthwhile by purchasing more vouchers for a longer experience.
• Most of the cars are manuals.
• Spectators dress warmly and make sure you have a camera with a good zoom to get the race track shots.
• Bring some extra money in case you wish to purchase food or the USB and photo with the car.
All in all, despite a few hiccups during the booking process and the personal rally drive to get there, my partner loved the experience and said he would do it again in a heartbeat. He is also keen to try the experience as a passenger where the car can be really run at its full potential with an experienced driver behind the wheel.
We were also really impressed with the USB recording of the drive and the fully framed photos that were taken in the race car attire in and in front of the car in a showroom. Very professionally done and of course, going straight to the pool room!
Did you complain to management about the poor service? If you had moved you should have found a shady spot to stand and let one of the staff know. Prior to change of ownership the Office was in Edwardstown (I think it was at Clem Smith Motors) Sadly the circuit was sold after the death of Clem Smith. It would not have been him that ran the experiences though. Racing Cars are manual so I'm surprised if there was any automatic cars there. They would not have known about the problem with the transporter when booking were made - it may have only happened the day/night before, even that morning.
Having done this I can only say was less than impressed with service left in sun for 2 and half hours in race suit helmet, waiting to drive a holden.2 off the other drivers had booked there drive that day.While I understand they where short off cars due to broken down transporter,we where asked if we would drive fords.No one came to explain any problems.Silly to book more drivers when having problems.Very poorly organised,out off date cars,good coach RIP OFF treated as cattle.