Tony Manson
Tony Manson

Manson cites family reasons for leaving Raceway role

WILLOWBANK Raceway CEO Tony Manson has announced he is stepping down from the role to be closer to family.

His decision is effective immediately.

Manson joined Willowbank in October 2013.

He oversaw some of the biggest events in the venue's 30-year history - the 2014 and 2015 Winternationals, and the arrival of Australia's largest international Country and Roots Festival, CMC Rocks.

Manson was also instrumental in the formation of Australian Professional Drag Racing Ltd, the birth of the 400 Thunder brand and series, and the introduction to Australia of the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) as a competitive sanctioning body.

"It is sad to be leaving Willowbank Raceway as I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, but my family is interstate and I have a desire to be with them more often," Manson said.

"There are significant plans for both the facility and drag racing underway that require a longer-term obligation and I feel I cannot make the commitment.

"Stepping down allows someone fresh to have input into the long-term decisions required and follow those plans to completion."

Manson said he was proud of his accomplishments at the Ipswich venue.

"Willowbank has an incredible legacy to live up to, so I am extremely satisfied to have been part of its history," he said.

"The past two Winternationals were standout events for me, while CMC Rocks brought diversification to the venue, and this year's three-day concert is already a sell-out.

"The formation of the APDR and 400 Thunder, and the introduction of the IHRA, were also significant projects - all positives for Australian drag racing - and I am proud to have played an integral role in those."

Willowbank Raceway president Tony Wedlock paid tribute to Manson.

"We are sad Tony is leaving, but we understand his wish to be closer to family," Wedlock said.

"He has made a great contribution to Willowbank and its on-going success and we thank him for his considerable efforts over the past two-and-a-half years.

"He will always be part of the Willowbank Raceway family."

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