Clipsal 500 Adelaide rallies for Sam Willoughby

27 February 2017

Leon Bignell MP
Minister for Tourism

The South Australian Government is offering Australian adrenaline junkies a once in a lifetime opportunity to race through the streets of Adelaide at up to 240km/h.

In a bid to raise money for World BMX champion and Olympic silver medallist Sam Willoughby the government is offering up a Clipsal 500 hot-lap this week.

Sam, who is a South Australian superstar, is recovering from a horrific spinal injury he suffered during a training ride last September.

Champion driver Lee Holdsworth, from Preston Hire Racing Team 18, will raise the money by auctioning off a hot-lap for one lucky supercars fan.

The online auction package also includes two four-day Pit Straight Grandstand tickets.

Sam is a Happy Valley-raised two-time world champion who is based in San Francisco in the US.

Minister for Tourism and Motorsport Leon Bignell was today joined by Sam’s father Colin Willoughby at Victoria Park to promote the hot-lap auction, which closes tomorrow.

Funds raised will go towards not-for-profit organisation, Road 2 Recovery Foundation - providing Sam and his family with support for his career-ending injury.

To place a bid in the auction, visit

For more information about the Sam Willoughby Foundation visit

The Foundation has so far raised $248,756 and it is hoped the hot-lap auction will help it reach its initial goal of $250,000.

The Clipsal 500 Adelaide starts on Thursday and finishes Sunday, kicking off the Supercar season and providing another sensational four days of motorsport and entertainment, including concerts by the Hilltop Hoods and Hunters and Collectors.


Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell
South Australians were in a state of shock following Sam’s injury and it's been great to see everyone really come together to help.

We want to get behind the South Australian BMX legend on his road to recovery and this hot-lap auction is a great opportunity to do this and perfect for any Supercars or BMX fan wanting to support Sam.

We’ve had an outpouring of support for Sam from across the State and we encourage fans to bid for a ride around the Victoria Park circuit to further help his recovery.

In August, we announced our new $3.5 million international competition standard BMX track to be built at O’Halloran Hill will be named in Sam’s honour and I can’t think of a more inspiring athlete both on and off the track. Sam is an absolute ripper.

He was here in Adelaide for the announcement and he was so thrilled we were naming South Australia's latest major sporting infrastructure the Sam Willoughby International BMX Centre.

Sam's local MP and friend, Nat Cook, caught up with Sam in San Diego in January and was thrilled to spend time with him and see the progress he's made on the road to recovery.

Quotes attributable to Sam’s father, Colin Willoughby
Since returning from Colorado to his home in San Francisco at the start of the year Sam’s rehab is going really well and he’s continuing to improve.

He is doing physio four times per week and can now hold himself up on a stationary bike and with support can actually pedal as well which is great.

Sam, myself and our whole family are completely overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from the South Australian government in the wake of Sam’s injury, we can’t even really explain how much we appreciate it.

Sam is working hard every day in his recovery and knowing he has so much support back here in Australia really keeps him going.

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