Because my new book has a small section of speedway in it, I thought I’d go into detail on my seven years of racing. Don’t stress, it won’t be long winded for those who don’t like cars. I just have a collection of old photo’s to help share my journey . It will be painless, I promise.
My family had always been into racing, from my dad, my grandparents, to aunty’s and uncles. My Grandad was a mechanic and my dad followed suit. My racing career started at the age of 16. I was driving a go-kart my dad built from the age of 3 and drove various buggies and cars the moment I could, (or sometimes couldn’t) reach the pedals. This was the norm for me and my cousins. So by 16 we were all very able with a car.
You can start racing speedway in Juniors from as young as ten, but it was something I never thought of until I asked to go on a school trip which was two thousand dollars. My dad simply said, ‘You could get a speedway car for that.’ So we did, and I raced for the next seven years. Who wanted to see snow anyway, I had something that lasted much longer.
This is my first car, a Charade which was really quick. My dad, beside me, and our Kiwi workman Steve. I ended up not being able to finish my first season as I turned 17, so I missed out on a heap of points but still came second for the year. I also missed out on the State title by a few weeks because of my birthday.
Because I was now 17, I had to race in another division. So my Charade was passed onto my brother and we found an old Colt, which meant I could move up into the Production Sedans division.
Here is my little Colt in action, going three wide into the fourth corner. I was the only girl, but I liked it like that.
Then we moved on to my first Torana. You will see my character Jonelle is a big Torana fan also. Many hours were spend in Dad’s shed putting bar work in and getting them up to the standards. Here is my Dad and my husband, boyfriend at the time, working really hard. (I did help, I was just busy taking the photo’s)
I took this car to the WA Sedan Car Federation Production State Title in Quairading on the 29th October 2000. The only girl out of 40 drivers. I was familar with the Quairading track as we raced there during winter and at Narrogin during the summer. I can remember being really nervous, so much so that when I was sucking the avgas through the hose to siphon from the drum into my fuel tank, I left it too late, swallowing some and ended up burping avgas for the rest of the day. Avgas is not nice the second, or third time or tenth time around.
I had a position near the back in my first heat and my car was sandwiched between two others which bent the steering arm, we didn’t have a replacement so that was the end of my titles run. And then at a race meet in Katanning I had my first rollover. (and my one and only)
So then began the making of Torana 2. And this was my favourite car. I’d saved up enough to spend 2 grand on the motor.
Of course with each car, my uncle Alan painted them up. It was handy having a signwriter in the family. I have a photo of my dad standing beside his race car back when I was just a baby, and I wanted this new Torana to have the same colours. Red, white and blue. This was back in the day when there was no such thing as fire proof overalls and neck braces.
Dad also got back into racing speedway. So then we both towed our cars to Narrogin but we raced in different divisions. Dad races Street Stocks, still does now.
Taking the Torana out for a spin on the track to see how it ran.
I raced this car right up until my last race when I was pregnant with my daughter. I then sold my car and took on my new role as a mother. One of my favourite times was when both my dad, my uncle Alan and I were all racing together. (our cars all lined up in the pits.) In the new book you will have to look out for the Hicks brothers Dick and Alan.
Well there you go, my racing in a nut shell, or in this case a blog post. Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane, and hopefully the photo’s help you picture the racing world of speedway when you read The Sunburnt Country.
I’ve also put a youtube clip of the Narrogin Speedway from this year, to give you a feel of speedway. (Normally you don’t have that many crashes.) I even see my dad racing in this one. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35hAlhfpVIE[/youtube]
And this one is filming I did of the Production title in Narrogin. (My old division) [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJlRve55jYI&feature=channel&list=UL[/youtube]