News

Brittany goes Heywire

Brittany and other junior speedway racing drivers from Lismore Speedway.Photo courtesy of Jonathan Atkins/ABC Heywire.
Brittany and other junior speedway racing drivers from Lismore Speedway.Photo courtesy of Jonathan Atkins/ABC Heywire.

Seventeen-year-old Brittany Armstrong has been racing speedway since she was 14 and knows what it's like to mix it in a male-dominated field. And now, thanks to her talent for storytelling, she's in Canberra with other young people voicing their opinions in the adult-dominated halls of Parliament House.

Brittany, who is in Year 12 at Casino High School, wrote a story about her life as a female speedway racer for the ABC's Heywire competition, which provides a platform for regional youth to tell their stories and express their aspirations and ideas. Her story was chosen as a winner from 700 entries and she is currently attending the 2012 Heywire Regional Youth Summit with 33 other 16-22 year olds from country areas.

Speaking to The Echo from Canberra, Brittany was busy working in the transport group, looking at issues related to the licensing requirements for L and P plate drivers.

The Heywire winners have spent the last few days working on policy proposals around the issues raised in their entries, from transport and education to mental health, small town survival, agriculture and more.

"We discussed how we think there should be a nationwide law about learner and provisional licence requirements… With so many P platers in crashes, and the road toll being so high, we feel young drivers are not taught as much as they should," Brittany explained. "They need to be educated about road conditions and different situations that occur in real life.

"I'm passionate about it because I think the 120 hours (required driving practice for L platers) is ridiculous - it's not how much time we spend gaining the experience it's how we gain that experience. I believe speedway has made me a better driver because I can spot hazards and know what to do in certain road situations.

"We're suggesting a trial of a defensive driver program before you get your licence and we should have programs in schools where people from places like the RTA come and talk to students."

Brittany said it was fantastic to be able to pitch ideas to politicians about what young people would like to see changed in rural Australia.

"It feels great that someone is actually listening to us," she said. "I've enjoyed hearing everyone's stories - they are all really interesting people. They have big voices and are really passionate about making a difference and I think that's really exciting."

In her competition entry Brittany spoke about her love of speedway, something she has been involved in since she was 14, following in the footsteps of her father and older brothers, who are champions on the quarter-mile dirt track of Lismore Speedway. Nerve-wracking at first, she has come to love the sport, and while she hasn't won a race, her objective is to beat the boys.

"I wrote about speedway because it's not a sport that's promoted hugely around our area and I love the family atmosphere - families watch it, families race in it, it's very bonding and so much fun. Once you start you don't want to stop," she said.

As she wrote in her winning her entry, "You might have doubts about a teenage girl driving speedway, but my dad doesn't. He is determined to make a racer out of me, and he may just get one."

To see Brittany's entry, visit abc.net.au/heywire.


Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Great Green Cabaret coming for MardiGrass

DANCERS: Arte Gitana instructors Serena Joy and Kelly Houghton .

Great Green Cabaret at Nimbin Town Hall

Bluey good natured little fellow

FRIENDLY BOY: Meet Bluey.

Bluey needs love and a little training

Our lad done good amongst best anglers

Dylan Walsh, winner of the Wilson River Rumble

DYLAN WALSH wins National Bass Fishing Competition

Latest deals and offers

Maudeville is back, brighter and shinier than ever

IN A city full of divas, only one reigns supreme: Maude Boate.

Great Green Cabaret coming for MardiGrass

DANCERS: Arte Gitana instructors Serena Joy and Kelly Houghton .

Great Green Cabaret at Nimbin Town Hall

Bluey good natured little fellow

FRIENDLY BOY: Meet Bluey.

Bluey needs love and a little training

Our lad done good amongst best anglers

Dylan Walsh, winner of the Wilson River Rumble

DYLAN WALSH wins National Bass Fishing Competition

Enjoy a barefoot belly-dance as well as a sketch

Stacey Walker and Sasha Fox from the Barefoot Gypsies look forward to Gypsy Nights to be held at their studio in Carrington Street on Saturday night. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

Let The Barefoot Gypsies entertain you

Floating solar is key to our future

LCC Water and Wastewater manager Matt Torr, LCC Environmental Strategies Officer Sharyn Hunnisett and council consultant Michael Qualmann at East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant. Artist’s impression shows where a community funded solar project will be floated.

Lismore Community Solar is to take sewerage works off grid

Prince Tribute this Friday

Prince

They are going to party like it’s 1999.

British family bashed in Thailand

Family beaten and kicked unconscious by gang in Thailand.

Family beaten and kicked unconscious by gang in Thailand.

Ben Hunt wary of Sharks Halfback

Ben Hunt of the Broncos looks to pass during the round 23 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.

Ben Hunt talks about Cronulla's Chad Townsend.

Broncos prepare for Sharks

Defensive training session at the Broncos

Tough defensive session in preparation for Sharks game.

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog

VIDEO: Art Deco fan pays $835,000 for Imperial Hotel

No Caption

Iconic "Impy" sold at a bargan price to bidder who loves Art Deco.

RBA warns of future apartment oversupply

Toowoomba: Crest Apartments and Burke & Wills, Ruthven Street ( view from Neil Street) Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle

RBA says oversupply of apartments poses risk to household finances