Following the recent passing of South Australian-based 410 Sprintcar team owner and transport industry magnate Ray Scott, tributes have flowed from many within the Australian speedway industry.
The 70-year-old, who was the son of a man once regarded as one of Australia’s richest men Allan Scott from Scott’s of Mount Gambier fame, made a significant contribution to the Australian speedway industry through firstly as a generous sponsor, then as a racer, then as a team owner.
After getting involved in speedway through the family on a deeper level via sponsorship, mainly with local track Borderline Speedway, Scott decided to get behind the wheel of a race car on a serious basis at the age of 47. It occurred during the 1997-98 season, when he purchased a Sprintcar from Adelaide-based car owner Dave Ferrall. Prior to Sprintcars, Scott had competed in Sedans and Modifieds in his younger years, along with Go Karts – both as a youngster and later in his life alongside his son Ashley.
For the next five seasons, Scott was a regular on the Sprintcar scene competing in not only his home state of South Australia but also racing throughout the neighbouring state of Victoria, where he contested many of the major events, such as World Series Sprintcar Championship rounds, Australian Championships and Grand Annual Classics.
Scott’s time in Sprintcars as a racer came to a crashing end in 2002 at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway in Victoria. Due to the severity of the crash, which saw the car’s differential smash into his seat and consequently injured his back, Scott, aged 52, was forced to step away from the driving duties.
Following his own speedway racing career being halted, Scott remained involved in the sport and his son Ashley stepped into the driver’s seat of the family’s Sprintcar, where he competed for two seasons.
In 2004, the Scott family stepped away from Sprintcar racing, and they returned to Sprintcar racing for the 2011-12 season. The family’s return to Sprintcar racing took place at Borderline Speedway in November of 2011 for a Eureka Garages & Sheds Series round, and it saw Ray make a shock return alongside his son Ashley. For Ray, it was a one-off race meeting, as he wanted to run one race meeting in a Sprintcar with his son and it was fittingly at their home track.
Ashley ran the next six seasons in 410 Sprintcars, which was highlighted by quick timing in qualifying and going on to finish 16th in the feature race during a 2015-16 season World Series Sprintcars Championship round at Premier Speedway, and it saw him joined in the team by one of Australia’s favourite exports Peter Murphy and popular American racer Randy Hannagan for many of the country’s major events. For Murphy, his drive for the Scott’s team during the 2011-12 season was his final ever Australian racing trip, while Hannagan ran for the team on two trips during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
After Ashley finished up his Sprintcar racing activities, Scott and the family returned for the 2017-18 season and teamed up with one of the country’s best racers in Brooke Tatnell. For Ray, he had been a long-time fan of Tatnell’s dad George, so it was fitting that a driver with the Tatnell surname was going to drive for the Scott team.
In what was a brief trip during the 2017-18 season summer, Tatnell and the Scott team surprised many, which was highlighted by them winning the preliminary feature race on the Friday night and then going on to finish third on the podium during the third and final night of the 2018 Grand Annual Classic.
Following two impressive part-time seasons together, Tatnell and the Scott team ran a full-time schedule this past season in Australia, which included running the 2019-20 season World Series Sprintcars Championship as a contracted driver. The pair went on to finish third in the final point standings and the highlight of their campaign was without a doubt was their round triumph at the Scott family’s home track – Borderline Speedway – over the Christmas-New Year period. It was the Scott family’s maiden Sprintcar feature-race victory, and what a win it was!
At this stage, the future of the Scott family in 410 Sprintcars remains uncertain. However, something that isn’t uncertain is the wonderful contribution Ray Scott made to the entire Australian speedway industry over a long period.
Photo: Corey Gibson Photography
Here are some touching tributes from people within the speedway industry:
Brooke Tatnell, current team driver
My family’s hearts are broken as we received the news that the world has lost one of the most generous loving and caring men I have ever meet. A tough task master, outspoken and never afraid to over step the boundaries or offend you if he felt it was necessary. A hard-old school worker that if there was a problem with no immediate answer just work through it until it’s solved. He was a control freak wanting it done his way and he would do it his way even if it meant doing it himself and on his time frame. He would be the first person to step up and help someone that needed help in any way shape or form. Yep, Ray did it his way, on his time. As our hearts ache for our loss of a great man, it aches more for the entire Scott family.
Peter Murphy, former team driver
Uncle Ray, you were a big part of my career and my life. I could never thank you enough for all you have done, all the advice, all the stories and all the friendship. Rest in Peace, mate.
Borderline Speedway Club Committee
The Borderline Speedway Club are saddened by the passing of a huge supporter of our club. He was a major sponsor, competitor and car owner. The support that Ray has given our club over the years has been over and beyond. Last season’s round of World Series Sprintcars was a special moment for the club, race fans and most important of all the Scott racing team to witness Brooke Tatnell driving the V55 to victory lane.
Premier Speedway Club Committee
A car owner with a heart of gold, known not only throughout Australia but also in America and beyond, Ray was a generous supporter of the Premier Speedway Club, especially when it came to the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic. His contribution to our sport in many different facets should be remembered fondly, as we mourn his passing.
Wendy Turner, ex-Speedway City promoter
A truly top bloke who will be remembered not just in speedway, as Ray was the man behind Scott’s of Mount Gambier, which are the leaders in the transport industry. Thanks for a lifetime of memories.
Paris Charles, media representative
Heartbroken to learn of the passing of a man that was truly one of the good guys and a person that lived by the motto: It's nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. He was as down to earth as they came.