Tuesday, 26 September 2017

COMPACT SPEEDCARS

It was a long time between drinks for Rod Francis, but on Saturday night at Goulburn Speedway, he managed to claim an emotional victory to clinch the second NSW Compact Speedcar Title of his career.

After winning the 2001 running of the event at Nowra Speedway, Francis found himself back in victory lane on Saturday night after a dominant performance, which came off the back of being plagued by electrical gremlins for his previous half a dozen shows of the 2016-17 season.

Having worked on the car into the night on Friday, the 59-year-old racer was able to locate and repair the issue, resulting in a stellar performance in the event the following night, which saw him collect two wins and a third-place finish in his heat races, lining him up in pole position for the 20-lap NSW Title-deciding feature race. Seizing the lead from the drop of the green flag, Francis was once again able to get the jump on his rivals after the race’s only red light stoppage on lap six, going on to negotiate lapped traffic and take a comfortable win.

“I couldn’t be happier to have come away with my second career NSW Title win on Saturday night,” expressed the driver of the NSW # 4 Rod’s Auto Care-backed Suzuki GSXR powered TCR driver, who admitted to being both nervous and excited to line up pole for the feature race, having not won a title event for the past six years.

“Having started from pole and being able to convert that into a win makes this title definitely more satisfying than the last, especially with the horror run I’ve been having this season. The car didn’t miss a beat and I didn’t have to do anything with it all night.”

Photo: Maximum Action Photography

With almost 20 years of experience under his belt, Francis is no stranger to competitive racing, having commenced his Compact Speedcar career in 1998, where he raced in all of the blue-ribbon events across Australia until 2007, when he decided to make the move into Speedcars, doing so in 2008, with his uncle Roy Didlock having raced Speedcars throughout the 1960s and 70s.

While his stint in Compact Speedcars was highlighted by winning the 2001 NSW title and finishing fourth in the Australian Title, his best results in Speedcars were a runner-up finish in the Valvoline Raceway Track Championship and a top-10 Australian Title result.

Taking a small break two seasons ago, Francis, from Dapto on the south coast of NSW, became involved in car ownership with Paul Murphy, while once again also dabbling in Compact Speedcar racing, due to the current positive direction of the class, with the cars now being self-started, as opposed to requiring a push start and assistance from a number of crew members.

Francis would like to thank the following 2016-17 season sponsors for their support: Rod’s Auto Care, Hi-Tec Oils, Shock Absorber Therapy, and P1 Australia. He would also like to give special thanks to his wife Rhonda, his daughter Rachel, his son-in-law Steve, and Paul Murphy.

Photo: Maximum Action Photography

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