Former Sydney-based Sprintcar racer Scott Hourigan was a man that called a spade a spade and someone whose passion for his family and friends was only matched by his passion for speedway racing.
Earlier this week at the age of just 55, Hourigan lost his brave 18-month battle with cancer, so we here at Totally Speedway wanted to pay tribute to him and his passion for speedway.
Growing up around speedway, as his dad Ray Hourigan was a Stock Car racer during the 1950s and 1960s, while Ray’s brother Jimmy competed in Solos during the same period, it was only natural that Hourigan would want to go speedway racing as soon as he was legally able to do so.
Hourigan’s speedway career commenced as a teenager in the Six Cylinder Sedan class during the early 1980s, when he had purchased a Holden Torana from Hurstville Boys High School friend and fellow speedway budding racer Alan Day, and for well over a decade he competed in a range of classes around his home state of NSW.
After five seasons in Six Cylinder Sedans, which saw him compete mainly at his home track of Liverpool Speedway on both clay and bitumen surfaces, Hourigan ventured into the newly-formed Limited Grand Nationals – a feeder class for the main Grand Nationals – running a car built by Cliffy Brown.
Following his time in Limited Grand Nationals, he expressed during the late 1980s about his desire to try his hand at Sprintcar racing, and this is where his good friend Alan Day takes up the story.
“Scott had spoken to me about wanting to go Sprintcar racing, and I was like, there are a few good cars currently on the market, but remember Sprintcars aren’t cheap to run,” he explained.
“Before I knew it, Scott pulled into my dad’s garage in Penhurst one afternoon with a Sprintcar on his trailer, and I said, that’s Warwick Singleton’s Sprintcar, and his reply was, no it’s not, it’s mine now. Scott was the type of guy that when he put his mind to something, he achieved it.”
The 1990-91 season was Hourigan’s first in Sprintcars aboard the ex-Warwick Singleton 1987 model Gambler, where he was based at Parramatta City Speedway, and he stayed in the class until the 1993-94 season. Although Hourigan loved his time in Sprintcars, it turned out to be the last time he competed in speedway. Hourigan’s Sprintcar was later sold in 1995 to teenager Ben Gates, who had recently stepped out of the Honda Odyssey class, to commence his debut season in Sprintcars for the 1995-96 season.
The Hourigan surname returned to motorsport competition in 2004 after nearly a decade away, when Scott’s son Adam started in go karts on the tar circuits and this saw the continuation of the family’s motorsport legacy.
After over a decade in go karting, Hourigan, who is a third-generation racer, moved into speedway, first up in Wingless Sprints, followed by a brief stint in Speedcars and then finally into 410 Sprintcars. The latter class is where he competed for four seasons.
“Sprintcars were always the goal for dad and I, and I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to do it together,” commented the 23-year-old.
“As those that knew dad, when he said he would do something, he would do it, and he also never did things by halves. We always ran a well-presented car and did the best we could with the equipment that we had.”
Hourigan continued by saying that past 18 months had been extremely tough for him and the family.
“Even while dad was going through chemotherapy, he would still be doing his best to help work on the Sprintcar,” he revealed.
“Midway through last season, it became all too much for the whole family, so we decided to sell our Sprintcar team, as we wanted the focus to be entirely on dad as he did his best to fight off cancer.”
Although cancer claimed Hourigan’s life earlier this week, he didn’t go without a brave fight. He is remembered as someone that was loyal to his family and friends and of course his passion for speedway racing.
Scott and Adam Hourigan
Photo: Rob Sinclair