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Mick O'Brien the marketing and publicity officer of the St George Motorcycle Club, tells us why the Summer Night Series at SMSP is so successful.

There’s no doubt the Summer Night Series at SMSP has proved hugely successful. Mick O’Brien the marketing and publicity officer of the St George Motorcycle Club, tells us why…


The Summer Night Series at Sydney Motorsport Park is in its fourth year and it’s been very successful. Why?

The format is the secret. Short, sharp races, run back-to-back. I think the riders enjoy it because they’re not sitting around for two or three hours in between events. It also means your whole weekend isn’t taken up. You can get to the track at 5.30pm and leave at 11pm – riders can go home to their families or do other things on the weekend. 

Not racing the whole weekend should also make it a bit easier on the wallet?

It’s a little bit cheaper. You’re still using tyres and paying an entry fee but because the races are shorter and run over a few hours you might only need one set of tyres for the night. 

One of the first things I noticed was the crowds, especially young people in good numbers 

Yeah, the night series is more social and the paddock is more open and transparent to spectators. When people are walking around with their kids and families we encourage riders to give them the full experience, to walk into the garage and meet the guys. The amount of people I see getting pictures with riders or sitting on motorbikes is fantastic. 

We get a decent crowd through the gate, and the idea is that it brings new people to the sport and more corporate people to the sport, which in turn brings more sponsorship dollars. The other night there were a group of 20 or 30 blokes riding up to the top of Turn 2. They’re the next racers right there, we want to expose them to the sport and have them enjoy it. The motorcycling community is getting better in Sydney with Sydney West Riders, Macarthur boys, Night Riders, Shire Riders, Sydney Uni group. They’re all pretty active and we’re trying to attract more of them to come along and be a part of the event. Even though Sydney Motorsport Park isn’t a great riding destination in itself, the roads around it are a bit mundane, it’s the novelty of the night racing that attracts people and they will come out with their mates.

Summer Night Series

Officially he’s the marketing and publicity officer for the series host, the St George Motorcycle Club, but Mick O’Brien (left) is right at the pointy end of this great event, pictured here with BSB racer Josh Brookes

The crowds must love being able to get up close to the action, especially with the more well-known riders?

Yes, it’s just a really nice, casual format. I walked into Mike Jones’ garage last night and there were three kids just standing around. I joked with Jonesy’s mechanic that I didn’t know he had kids. He laughed and said no, they’re not his, they’re fans and here they are having a picture taken with the 2022 ASBK champ. To me that’s what it’s all about. 

You just don’t get that many people around the pits on a weekend because of the format. Young families come out and sit on blankets. There were a bunch of people out at Turn 5 last night watching from their car. I was told about a South American gentleman from Ecuador who was spectating the other night but had never been to any motorsport event before. He said he would be back at the next round with some of his friends.

It’s good for the sport, maybe not so good for the parents’ bank balance when their kids want a motorbike!

ASBK was here for the first time last year – that would have been a different vibe?

When ASBK came here for their first night race, they had different obligations like media grids and other things that just inject delays into the program that are unavoidable.

That’s the hard thing about motorcycle racing. If there are delays people just tap out. If I had my way you’d have a three-lap race, come into the pits and then straight back out again.

The first three or four laps of most races is the most exciting, it doesn’t matter if it’s MotoGP or ASBK or anything. 

Summer Night Series

The moment the crowd has come to see

What sort of innovations do you look to now?

We’re trying to get these events televised. I spoke to Stuart Higgs about it – he has Motovision TV and we looked at pay-per-view. The thing is production could cost about $25k a night, so we would need some big corporate dollars behind us.

I’d love to see a big tower with racing numbers indicating the position on track, or just a timer countdown so the crowd knows when the race is finishing, that type of thing.

There needs to be more investigation into how cross promotion of other sports could work – like boxing for example or live music. Right back at the beginning of the series we did have Ian Moss lined up to play at the event, but it was put off by Covid. 

You’ve also had really good support from the top riders?

Yes definitely. When it comes to Josh Brookes for example, I can’t say enough good things about him and what he’s done for the club and the series. Before the presentation last night he was hot and sweaty… the orange army of volunteers were there and each one of them got a personal thank you from him. Nobody asked him to do it, having people who are that relaxed in that environment is such an incredible thing. 

Troy Bayliss has helped us out a lot. He’s a great supporter of the club too. Someone of his stature who is so supportive of the series is very helpful. He’s always in the background giving suggestions and feedback that really helps. 

Jacob Roulstone, he’s another one. He came and had a chat after the event. He is a true gentleman and has the right attitude along the same lines as Troy even though they are decades apart in age. 

Any feedback is always very positive and delivered in a constructive manner. If we can provide an opportunity for young riders to improve, if some of these kids make it onto the world stage, we’re all happy to be a small part of their journey. As little as the part is that we have played, it’s giving the young guys a dance floor to dance on.  

Summer Night Series

Mick is hands on, pictured here helping a racer get his bike fired up