Wednesday, 22 November 2017

17 7 17 dirt mods

V8 DIRT MODIFIEDS

Recently, Totally Speedway’s Ally Stoyel sat down with newly-instated President of Dirt Modifieds Australia, Darren Tindal, to discuss his involvement with the V8 Dirt Modifieds class over the years and what he think he can bring to the class moving forward.

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Ally Stoyel: Let’s start with your background in speedway. How have you been involved with the sport over the years?
Darren Tindal: I started going to the speedway when I was about 10, as my dad regularly volunteered to drive the pace car and water truck, and later on I began racing motorbikes.

When I was 17, my brother gave me a drive in his Ford Cortina at Rushworth Speedway, where I ended up winning the very first heat race I ever contested, and from there I never looked back. I raced standard saloons for a long time and then made the move into modified productions, before stepping away from racing for about eight years when I moved to Europe for business.

When I moved back to Australia, I pit crewed for my brother Paul, who was racing Super Sedans at the time, for a number of years, before buying his Super Sedan and racing it myself, prior to buying my V8 Dirt Modified.

My son Harley also started racing Junior Sedans at the age of 12 and is currently racing V8 Dirt Modifieds.

AS: Why did you decide to take up the role of President within DMA and what do you think you can bring to the role?
DT: I was actually asked to become Vice President of DMA two years ago as part of their succession model to get the right people in the right roles, and prior to that, I’d been involved with DMA for two years as a driver. I’d previously been President of Rushworth Speedway and it was a role I’d absolutely loved, so when the when the opportunity came up to be a part of a national division, I jumped at it.

I have a comprehensive corporate background running multi-million dollar companies and specialising in leadership and people development, where I would coach and develop people to become more effective leaders.

One of the key things that has been a huge part of my job is the ability to build a strategy and get everyone moving forward in the same direction, which is something that I think could definitely be improved when it comes to DMA. A main focus for me going forward will be to work closely with each of the state clubs and ensure that we’re all moving in the same direction.

AS: In addition to you, there’s a whole new executive committee on board. How do you think they’ll be able to impact the class moving forward?
DT: The new executive committee members are fantastic and they’re all on the same page as me when it comes to what we need to be focusing on in order to better the class.

Our new Treasurer, Paul Markulin, is a chartered accountant, who has been involved with AMCA Nationals and V8 Dirt Modifieds over the years, and my son Harley is our new Secretary, who has a lot of experience in sales and marketing and will be crucial in terms of helping DMA move into a new phase of technology, with things like video conferencing, making it easier for everyone to be involved.

Our Vice President and National Technical Officer Peter Cox has been around speedway for about 50 years and has been President of many clubs and a member of several boards throughout WA. His knowledge of our class is second to none and he has some great ideas on how we can work together collectively.

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Photo: Savage Shots Photography

AS: There’s a huge American influence in Australian V8 Dirt Modifieds, with imported cars and things. How do you think that influence has benefited the state of the class in Australia today?
DT: I believe the American cars are fantastic and I’m a big fan of the fact that you can readily buy parts for some of the larger name chassis, like Troyer, Bicknell and TEO, off the shelf from dealers in Australia. You can purchase a whole car from America and have it shipped to Australia, where you can race it without making too many changes.

AS: How are things looking for the 2017-18 season? Can we expect to see a similar calendar to last season?
DT: We can’t change things up too much, so there will be a similar calendar in the 2017-18 season, but we’ll continue to make small changes over the coming seasons.

In saying that, next season’s Australian Title, which will be held at Moama’s Heartland Raceway, will see a different format introduced. Previously, we’ve run the title over two nights, however next season, it will be contested over a single night of competition.

This decision has been driven by feedback from promoters in relation to the costs of running a two night show compared to one. In today’s economy, we need to be building relationships with promoters and working with them to come up with strategies on how to ensure we’re putting on the best show possible for the people on the hill, because at the end of the day, that’s who it’s all about.

AS: And just on the 5 Star Dirt Series, which is extremely popular, do you think the series is an important staple on the calendar in terms of bringing all of the states together?
DT: Absolutely. The 5 Star Dirt Series underpins each of our title events, so it’s always hotly-contested. Shawn Mortimer pulled the whole series together and in my opinion, it really put V8 Dirt Modifieds on the map and gave us a good reputation for putting on a great show.

Contrary to popular belief, it was named due to it being a 5 star event, not because it’s contested over five rounds.

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Photo: Corey Gibson Photography

AS: There’s been an interesting shake up during the season just gone, with Tim Morse returning to the track. What do you think of the current level of competition in V8 Dirt Modifieds?
DT: V8 Dirt Modifieds are definitely starting to evolve. Essentially we have two divisions: the open division, which is not quite as stringent in terms of the dollars invested to be competitive, and the sportsman division, which is no doubt one of the keys to our success as a class. While the cars are the same across both divisions, the 602 sealed crate engines, which have a rev limit 6000rpm, used in the sportsman division help to keep costs down.

The sportsman division is a great entry point for anyone not wanting to spend too much money, and it’s a breeding ground for the drivers to move into open class. One of the things I’d like to focus on in the future is building on the sportsman division as a feeder class into the open division.

AS: And lastly, what kind of plans do you and the new committee have for the future in terms of marketing and the direction you want the class to go in?
DT: The most important thing is definitely making sure that we’re getting exposure across the right mediums, including online, print and social media.

The opportunities to promote ourselves effectively across all levels of marketing are there for the taking, we just need to be very strategic about how and where we’re marketing our brand.

Scott Cannon

Photo: Darren Hastings

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