Story and photo by Kendrea Rhodes.
Jason and Michelle Ritcher with some local boys enjoying a party at the Adelaide Hills Slot Car Raceway in Lobethal.
For slot cars, the word Scalextric is as generic as Kleenex is for tissues. It’s quite often associated with youth, as toys for kids – but those who make that assumption obviously haven’t been to the Adelaide Hills Slot Raceway in Lobethal.
This is slot car racing for everyone; novice to national champions, grandparents, grandkids, families, mates, car clubs, birthday parties, in fact any kind of party. Everything you need is available for hire, but if you’re already a slot car enthusiast, you can also bring your own equipment to use on the tracks.
Michelle and Jason Richter of Lenswood together with their two young sons, have been operating the Adelaide Hills Slot Raceway for the past 12 months from the old ‘Williams’ building in Lobethal. The shop floor is chocka with entertainment, including five racetracks and one drag strip. One of the tracks is an urban myth from the 1960s, the Night Fury track, which was also the catalyst to opening the shop to the public.
The Richter family have always had slot cars and racetracks, but it’s been more of a hobby and the tracks have had to take their place alongside the rest of the furniture in the living room or out in the shed.
The legendary ‘Night Fury’ track was purchased 5 years ago, but restoration work only started in 2011 due to the space available in their new found venue in Lobethal.
Night Fury is the biggest commercial track in South Australia, boasting 157 feet in length with 8 lanes. It snakes and curves on cambers that’d make a Nascar racer cry, and takes up half of the shop floor in area.
Night Fury has been restored so well by Michelle, Jason and friends that it doesn’t look a shade of its 50 years in age.
“This is the legendary track that I’ve based my life on … and now I own it!” said Jason.
Jason’s dad and uncle told him many stories about an amazing track that they used to race on when they were kids in Gawler. Since Jason was 7 years old he listened to these stories and was building model cars with his uncle. Now Jason’s sons are at that same age, showing the same level of interest and able to drive on that very same track that their grandad did, at their age. This family is proof that passions can be hereditary!
In his spare time, Jason builds model cars and parts, but it was his wife Michelle, who in 2005, realised that his obsession could be turned into an income. This is when their custom model car parts business, ‘The Parts Box’ was born – which is now a thriving international online business.
Now Jason does what he loves – all day and all night long – AND gets paid for it!
This place truly is a ‘family hobby centre’, because you can not only hire the cars and track time, but you can also purchase Scalextric cars, parts to build your own, model cars, Airfix, Revell, Resin kits, modelling tools, paints, parts and accessories, seek advice, play arcade amusements, cold drinks, hot drinks, snacks, exchange stories or just marvel at the hundreds of models Jason has built over a lifetime, which are mostly on display.
Michelle is a qualified Airbrush Instructor who runs classes on a weekly basis from the shop and the artwork adorning its walls are a testament to her skills.
The list of Richter family talents just keeps going, but unfortunately, this story can’t. Phone them for more information on 0405 298 441 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their prices are really reasonable, which makes it an affordable family fun destination. Trading hours are 10am-6pm, Wednesday to Sunday; feel free to drop in at 60 Main Street, Lobethal.