MARYBOROUGH ranks near the top of Brisbane-based karts and sprintcars driver Libby Ellis's list of her favourite tracks.
Ellis is into her fifth year driving karts, but has been a constant presence at speedway tracks for at least twice that amount of time.
So why did she choose to swap an organisational role for competition?
"Madness? A mid-life crisis!” she joked.
"I've always wanted to do something different. I've been involved in the organisational side of speedway for about 10 years or so, and I thought a sprintcar might've been a bit too much to start with.”
She sat behind the wheel of a junior kart, strapped in, fired up the engine, and after countless laps realised she loved every second.
A (very lucky) full sponsorship allowed Ellis to compete almost right away.
But she didn't go from zero to hero. Instead, she has slowly built confidence, learned the tricks of the trade and developed into a consistent competitor.
"I started in outlaws but since then I've run standards,” Ellis said.
"The first year I was at the back the whole time, but in the second year I stayed where I was put at the start.”
Her confidence grew, as did her competitiveness.
"I crashed so often and I had so many issues,” she said of her third year.
"I settled back down and I ended up with a few podiums in year four.”
She finished third in the Speedway's SKAA Karts Winter Nationals series, and was second in the club championships.
Ellis will compete at Maryborough's race day on Sunday. It was an easy decision for Ellis, who now also drives a 360 Sprintcar.
"I've found that they're a lot bigger and they're faster than the kart,” she said.
"They also hit the wall a bit harder!” she laughed.
"This is one of the first race meetings Maryborough has had and I hope they get a lot of people there.
"The volunteers deserve a mention. They do a lot of hard work, and it's one of my favourite tracks.”
Karts start at 10am.