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Despite one of the most tumultuous speedway off seasons on record here in Australia, it hasn’t prevented nearly 30 racers, who are from varied backgrounds, around the country making the move into Sprintcars for the 2020-21 season. Totally Speedway’s Daniel Powell has done a lot of meticulous research over the past fortnight and come up with this in-depth feature article.

Queensland

Taylor Prosser

After showing plenty of promise in Formula 500s – firstly as a junior and then as a senior – Prosser for this season has made the massive jump into 410 Sprintcars. The 17-year-old moves into 410 Sprintcars knowing very well the big challenge that is ahead. However, in his first couple of outings, he has shown a lot of promise and we are confident that he will only improve as the season progresses. Prosser’s move into 410 Sprintcars has been helped along by the guidance and support of Lockie and Jamie McHugh from the McHugh Motorsport team.

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Photo: 44 Photography

Brant Chandler

Over the past decade, Chandler has been one of Queensland’s leading Wingless Sprint racers, and for this season, he has made the move into Sprintcars. Running within the Development events at his home track – Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway – Chandler is using this season to learn the ropes and build up confidence. When it comes to the Development events, he has shown impressive early form.

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John White

The White surname has been synonymous with the Queensland speedway industry for over 40 years, and the latest to join the family’s speedway legacy is John White. After spending a lot of his racing endeavours on two wheels in motocross, White has this season decided to make the move into speedway on a regular basis. White, who over the years has dabbled in various forms of speedway via Limited Sprintcars, Wingless Sprints and most recently Vintage Sprintcars, has moved into Sprintcars and is focusing on the Development events at Archerfield Speedway. Since stepping into Sprintcars, which sees him run a 360 cubic inch powered Triple X, White is loving the whole experience. When it comes to how John fits into the whole White family tree, he is the nephew of former Super Modified / Sprintcar racer Gary, the cousin of Steven – another ex-Sprintcar racer, and the son of Jeff, who himself is an ex Solo motorcycle rider along with an ex-Sprintcar racer.

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Photo: 44 Photography

Nick O’Keeffe

In what is a busy 2020-21 season, O’Keeffe will be spreading his focus between his Sprintcar and Super Sedan activities. After racing Super Sedans for the past six seasons after coming out of the Dwarf Car class that saw him claim an Australian Title win, which has been highlighted by winning the Queensland Development Series during his second season in Super Sedans, O’Keeffe made the decision during the off season to try his hand at Sprintcar racing. For his first season in Sprintcars, O’Keeffe, who drives an ex-Anthony Vanderreyden J&J that is coupled with a 360 cubic inch powerplant, is running in the Development Series at Archerfield Speedway and has shown impressive form during his early outings. Apart from his Sprintcar commitments, he will continue to compete in Super Sedans.

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Jeremy Gaudry

Gaudry is another new face on the Queensland scene and he has chosen to learn his craft by running in the Development events at Archerfield Speedway. The 18-year-old racer comes from a go kart background on the tar circuits and for his debut Sprintcar season is running a 410 cubic inch powered Eagle car.

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Matt Hefford

A racer who has competed in a wide variety of speedway classes, such as Speedcars, Compact Speedcars, Lightning Sprints, Modified Sedans, Modlites and V8 Dirt Modifieds, Hefford has now added 410 Sprintcars to that list. Despite not hitting the track just yet, Hefford’s car looks very well presented and is planning to run the Development events at Archerfield Speedway. Apart from his Sprintcar commitments, he is also planning to double up by running his Speedcar.

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Brian Walsh

North Queensland is currently undergoing a resurgence with Sprintcars and one of these new drivers is Walsh. The son of veteran North Queensland-based Sprintcar racer Mike, Brian comes from a rallying background. For this season, he has made the move into Sprintcars and has impressed in his early outings. With the experience of his dad to fall back on, Brian has quickly been able to mix it with the front runners, which saw him claim a recent feature-race win at Cairns Speedway.

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Wes Jenkins

A former Sidecar and Formula 500 racer, Jenkins has made an impressive start to his Sprintcar career since debuting in August of this year. The Cairns-based racer is quite passionate about the revival of Sprintcars in North Queensland. In terms of on-track performances, he picked up a feature-race win in the season opener at Cairns Speedway. The plans for the rest of the season for Jenkins are to continue his learning curve and remain at the pointy-end of the field.

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Mace Papworth

Papworth has made the move into Sprintcars this season in North Queensland and he has so far been loving the journey so far. With not a lot of experience behind him, which consists of only a couple of seasons in Formula 500s, Papworth, who resides in Cairns, has showed impressive form during the early stages of his Sprintcar career and has already developed into a podium contender.

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Cameron King

As another ex-Formula 500 pilot to join the resurgence of the Sprintcar class in North Queensland, King has made quite the impression. The Cairns resident scored a feature-race win at Mareeba’s Kerribee Park Speedway in only his second ever race meeting and he doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.

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Gwesyn Dalliston

The recent revival of Sprintcars in North Queensland has enabled Dalliston to achieve a life-long dream. The son of ex-Sprintcar racer from the 1990s Kaydon Dalliston has always harboured a desire to go Sprintcar racing, and earlier this year he made those dreams become a reality. Dalliston’s background prior to stepping into Sprintcars consists of go karting, motocross and tarmac rallying. The future plans for Dalliston is to continue to learn the ropes of Sprintcar racing and work his way towards the front of the field.

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Nathan Knight

When it comes to speedway racing experience, Knight didn’t have a lot of it to rely on for when he moved into Sprintcars this year. Another Cairns-based racer, Knight’s prior speedway experience is limited to eight years ago, when he was a sidecar passenger, but he gave it up after a year following him sustaining a broken leg. Since then, Knight has been a keen motorsport observer, but an opportunity came up to go Sprintcar racing and it was one that he has grabbed with both hands. Since his Sprintcar debut late last month, Knight has been getting familiar with his new surrounds and learning the art of car setup. The short-term goals for this 26-year-old are to continue to have fun and hopefully work his way towards being able to consistently mix it with his more established rivals.

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Photo: www.gordong.com 

New South Wales

Ashleigh Jack

Following a brief taste of 410 Sprintcar racing last season, Jack has turned her focus on the premier winged class. After a successful six seasons in Wingless Sprints, the 25-year-old is hoping to get plenty of track time in order to help her 410 Sprintcar learning curve. There is no doubt that being part of the Aussie Racing team with her partner and 410 Sprintcar team-mate Daniel Sayre is going to benefit her. Apart from 410 Sprintcars, Jack is aiming to do selected Wingless Sprint race meetings during the season.

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Photo: Tony Loxley

Zac Pacchiarotta

Like Jack, Pacchiarotta last season made a handful of 410 Sprintcar appearances but he is for this season is planning to run a full campaign. However, with the uncertainty surrounding the final season at Valvoline Raceway, Pacchiarotta might be limited in his outings. He is excited about continuing his 410 Sprintcar learning curve and becoming competitive in the world’s toughest form of dirt tack speedway racing. The 23-year-old will also be running selected Wingless Sprint race meetings around his 410 Sprintcar commitments.

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Photo: Tony Loxley

Matt Ferguson

Despite the uncertainty around NSW, in particular Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway, it hasn’t stopped Ferguson from powering ahead with his preparations for fulfilling his 410 Sprintcar dreams. For his maiden Sprintcar campaign, Ferguson has purchased a car and engine package from fellow Sydneysider Mick Matchett. When it comes to his previous speedway experience, it all started for Ferguson in Speedway Karts. Prior to moving into Speedway Karts in 2013, he had over a decade of experience in go karting on the tar circuits. Following his time in Speedway Karts, which was highlighted by a second-place Australian Title finish in the KT Open class, Ferguson made the transition into Wingless Sprints two years later. Ferguson’s move into Wingless Sprints was an impressive one and within his first five race meetings he had picked up a feature-race win at Valvoline Raceway. A handful of race meetings later, he was unfortunately injured in a crash and it forced him to call time on his Wingless Sprint endeavours. Last year, Ferguson made a return to speedway competition via Legend Cars and he enjoyed a competitive run before an opportunity during the most recent off season came up to step into Sprintcars.

Ferguson would like to thank his 2020-21 season sponsors: Narellan Powder Coating and DNK Electrical Services. Special thanks: Steve McDonald, David Lo-Iacono, Daniel Weaver, John Mitchell, Ian McKee and Clinton McKenzie for all of their help getting in Ferguson to where he is today.

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South Australia

Max Vidau

Coming from a successful circuit racing background, Vidau has moved into 410 Sprintcars. Vidau, whose circuit racing success includes National and South Australia Championships in Formula Fords and wins in the Porsche Cup Challenge category, is very enthusiastic about his foray into the world of dirt track racing. Campaigning a Maxim powered by a Maxwill Racing Engines prepared 410 cubic inch engine, Vidau’s plans for his maiden season are to learn as much as he can about driving a Sprintcar, due to it being such a different driving style to what he had previously been used to, and to learn about more about car setup.

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Chris James

James has made the massive step into Sprintcars for this season, but it’s an opportunity he has grabbed with both hands. One of the state’s leading V6 Sprints racers in recent seasons, the move into Sprintcars is a whole new ball game, but it’s one that we are confident he will be able to handle.

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Austin McDonald

Due to being restricted to only two outings last season after sustaining engine damage, McDonald is heading into his first full season in 410 Sprintcars. McDonald is running an ex-Todd Wigzell Triple X and his goals for the season ahead are to get in as many race meetings as possible in his home state and build up his experience in the process. Prior to stepping into 410 Sprintcars, he spent four seasons in Formula 500s and before that he competed in both Dirt Karts and Speedway Karts.

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Photo: Savage Shots Photography

Daniel Puddy

As a long-time speedway sidecar racer in South Australia, Puddy has for this season made the move into the 410 Sprintcar ranks. There is no doubt that the transition from three to four wheels is going to be a challenging one, but as a former speedway sidecar racer, he has proven that he isn’t lacking in the bravery stakes. Be sure to keep an eye on the orange SA # 43 car throughout the season in South Australia.

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Photo: Savage Shots Photography

Lachlan McDonough

Running a family-run team on a small budget, McDonough is hoping to run his first full season after limited campaigns over the previous two seasons. Being based in South Australia, McDonough is going to be running as much as possible at Murray Bridge Speedway and other regional tracks within the state, and he is committed to improving with every outing and continuing to live out his childhood dream. McDonough, who comes from a Dirt Kart background that includes numerous National and South Australian Title wins, is good friends with World of Outlaws Shark Racing team drivers Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen and its owner Bobby Allen, which they have offered plenty of advice during his time in 410 Sprintcars. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, McDonough was set to head over to America to pit crew for the Shark Racing team.

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Photo: Savage Shots Photography

Western Australia

Jack Williamson

After a successful grounding in Dirt Karts and more recently Outlaw Karts, this teenager makes the big step into Sprintcars for the 2020-21 season. The 16-year-old has so far in his Sprintcar journey run a rain-interrupted Winter Series round at Ellenbrook Speedway and a practice meeting at Perth Motorplex and he can’t wait to tackle the season ahead. Despite the daunting task, Williamson has the backing of a supportive family and his goals for his maiden season are to learn and consistently improve.

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Photo: Peter Roebuck

George Eaton

To say that Eaton is excited about his maiden Sprintcar season would be quite the understatement. After learning his craft in Junior Sedans and in recent seasons moving into Formula 500s, Eaton for this season has made the decision to move into Sprintcars after he took it upon himself to sell everything he had, including his Formula 500, in order to purchase a Sprintcar, which turned a life-long dream into a reality. The 22-year-old’s plans for the season ahead are to run his 360 cubic inch powered Maxim in as many open and 360 Sprintcar race meetings as possible within his home state.

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Photo: Peter Roebuck

Tim Ryan

The inaugural World of Outlaws iRacing Champion (2018) surprised many during this extended off season by picking up a drive aboard the second Sprintcar out of the J&S Drilling Motorsport team stable. The plans for Ryan is going to be running as many 360 Sprintcar race meetings on home soil, and there is no doubt that his learning curve is going to be aided by not only the support of team owner John McLellan, but the team’s crew chief Keith Giles and his J&S Drilling Motorsport team-mate Kaiden Manders. Apart from his talents in the iRacing world, Ryan has achieved a lot of success in Dirt Karts that includes a total of 14 state titles and a lone National Title and more recently a brief stint in Wingless Sprints.

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Photo: Peter Roebuck

Tasmania

Brody Appleby

It’s been nearly 25 years since the Appleby surname was present on the Tasmanian Sprintcar scene. As the son of former leading Tasmanian Sprintcar racer from the 1980s and 90s Dion Appleby, Brody is set to this season occupy the seat of the Tas # 45 Challenge Motors car normally driven by Kurt Luttrell, as Kurt has decided to take the season off. The 24-year-old has spent years in go karting on the tar circuits but has no prior speedway experience, so it’s going to be interesting to see how he takes to 410 Sprintcars.

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Photo: Corey Gibson Photography

Chase Redpath

The latest addition to the 410 Sprintcar ranks from the Redpath family is teenager Chase. The 16-year-old son of multiple Tasmanian Sprintcar Champion Jason Redpath is currently preparing for his 410 Sprintcar debut season. Coming from a Speedway Kart background, Chase (pictured below right) has a big learning curve ahead of him while running the third car out of the Metro Auto Spares Motorsport team, but he comes from a good speedway pedigree, so that will definitely be working in his favour.

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Luke Redpath

The multiple Tasmanian Wingless Sprint and Speedcar Champion has confirmed that he is moving into 410 Sprintcars. Redpath is currently building up a Sprintcar and he is planning to bring it out towards the latter stages of the 2020-21 season on the Apple Isle. It’s certainly an exciting time for the talented 32-year-old, as he makes the next step in his speedway career.

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Adam Garwood

After spending the past five years competing between circuit racing in categories like Sports GT, Touring Car Masters and Porsche Carrera Cup and two seasons of speedway in Formula 500s, Garwood is focusing on his next challenge in 410 Sprintcars. Garwood has purchased CS9 Sprintcar from good friend Damian Robins and is now eagerly awaiting the commencement of the season in Tasmania.

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Jack Crossin

Following a few cameo 410 Sprintcar appearances last season with the GW Motorsport team, Crossin is going to be running a leased car out of the Clasener Motorsport stable. It’s unsure how much racing that is going to be held down in Tasmania, but one thing is for sure, this ex-Wingless Sprint and Junior Sedan racer will be there as he looks to continue his 410 Sprintcar adventure.

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Victoria

As one would expect, it’s been incredibly quiet down in Victoria, which is the Australian state that has been the most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. After contacting numerous people within the industry down in the southern state, there was not a whole lot to report.