BLACKWATER speedsters Ross Ballard and Jason Hite have finally hit the dirt, but not as they probably would have preferred.
After the weather turned their home track at Coal Capital Speedway into muddy mush, Ballard and Hite turned their attention to the Rockhampton meet at the weekend, only to have their cars crumble before their eyes on the Rocky track.
Racing rookie Hite was in his element racing in his first-ever speedway event in the Super Stockers division, until a blown front tyre put a stop to his debut in the fifth lap of the feature race.
“I couldn’t really do much about it,” Hite said.
“But I wasn’t in it to win, I just wanted to have fun.”
Blackwater club secretary Roz Young, who was there to watch her partner Ross race, said Hite was a racer in the making who would find it hard to give it up as the racing bug was in his system.
“He drove very well – he never stopped talking about it all night,” Young said. “I don’t think he’ll ever get out of it now.”
Racing mentor and next door neighbour Ross said the orange bullet ran like a dream with Hite behind the wheel.
“He drove like a champion,” Ross said.
“He was a little out of his league in the Cortina racing against the bigger Commodores but in four heats and one feature race, he was only lapped once by a Commodore.
“He even got to pass a couple of cars.”
Ballard too, looked to be hitting his straps in the Wingless Sprintcar heats before a blown engine put a dampener on his night’s racing.
Roz said true-to-form, Ross didn’t let a little engine problem get him down.
“He couldn’t get it working properly – the car wasn’t racing well at all,” she said.
“But he kept it going right up to the last race.”
This is a second failed Wingless engine for Ross, however fortune favours the brave and the very nature of Ross’s division means a replacement engine isn’t too much of a burden.
“The Wingless run on a little V6 Holden engine and they only cost about $300 but the bigger V8 Sprintcars are upwards of $3000.
“So it’s not that bad in that regard,’ Roz said.
Ross said a good deal of the popularity in the Wingless class was that it’s relatively inexpensive to run, even when things go wrong.
“That’s the beauty of it, you can just throw another wrecker engine for a couple of hundred bucks and you’re good to go.”
Roz, who has been the club’s volunteer secretary since its inception in 1987, said she feels completely comfortable watching the racing action from afar.
“I’ve never ever been in one of their cars – I think they’re mad,” Roz joked.
Blackwater’s Coal Capital Speedway will undergo a major transformation during the summer racing break, as new concrete barriers are installed.
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