Junior dragster, 8, dies after race crash

AN eight-year-old drag racer has died in hospital after slamming into a wall during a solo drive at the Perth Motorplex, police have confirmed.

WA Police confirmed to media outlets the tragic news this afternoon. Officers will now prepare a report for the coroner.

Anita Board was barely old enough to get behind the wheel of her junior dragster, and young enough to want it decorated with My Little Pony characters.

The little girl's racer crashed at the Perth Motorplex on Saturday afternoon, PerthNow reported when she lost control at the end of a solo run and crashed into a cement barrier.

Anita Board is in a critical condition after crashing her drag racer at the Perth Motorplex. Picture: Facebook
Anita Board is in a critical condition after crashing her drag racer at the Perth Motorplex. Picture: Facebook

The impact was so great that she had to be revived at the crash scene by paramedics who were on duty at the event. No other dragsters were on the track.

It is believed she was attempting a solo drive, which is required for young drag racers wanting to be licensed and compete in events.

Anita comes from a drag racing family and their Facebook page has numerous videos and posts of her in and around cars.

She had her own purple dragster, with the words "Pony Power" on the sides and a picture of the Rainbow Dash character from My Little Pony. It was powered by a 210cc engine.

She had just turned eight on Thursday, the minimum age to be allowed to race under Australian National Drag Racing Association rules.

The Board family, from Aubin Grove, said on their Facebook page that she celebrated her birthday by going go-karting to get more practice before going for her licence.

Her father Ian Board posted a photo of the girls in a car, saying "Our angel setting (out) on what was meant to be day to remember for all the right reasons. My heart in a million pieces atm."

The siblings were among 26 entrants for the Goldenstates Junior Dragster event.

Racing was temporarily suspended while police investigated.

Earlier today, Mr Board thanked people for their love and support.

"We are all hurting at this time," Ian Board said from Princess Margaret Hospital as his family kept vigil with Anita last night.

"We'd like to thank our family and friends and our motorsport family for the love and support."

Scores of friends and well-wishers posted their prayers and messages of love and support for the family on Mr Board's Facebook page.

VenuesWest confirmed no other vehicles were involved and that it was helping WA Police investigate the incident.

Mike Sprlyan, of Junior Dragster Australia, said it was not unusual for an eight-year-old to get behind the wheel. Beginners drive "tin pots" that can reach top speeds of 40-50km/h.

He said competitors in junior races ranged in age from 8 to 17 and were placed in three classes depending on experience.

ANDRA said investigations continued while police want to speak with anyone who saw or took video of the crash.

The association, the venue and motorsports fans posted messages of support for the Board family on social media.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone at ANDRA are with the family and ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time," the association said in an emailed statement.

ANDRA rules state racers aged between eight and 10 must not exceed 96km/h.