In almost three decades of speedway racing, Trish Dike had never been able to win a Victorian Title, despite several minor podium finishes; however, last Sunday on home soil at Drouin Speedway, she finally managed to get the monkey off her back.
Having spent the last few seasons contesting Ladies Standard Saloons, Trish had previously come close to achieving Victorian Title success, qualifying on pole for the 2011 running of the event at Darlington’s Mid-Western Speedway in a borrowed car and leading for 27 of the 30 laps, before unfortunately being pushed wide by a lapped car and ultimately coming home second.
Determined to go one better in last Sunday’s Victorian Title, the competitive racer, who is based in Eumemmerring in Victoria, tried to keep her nerves at bay during the event, placing second in her first heat race and fifth in heat-race two due to experiencing clutch problems.
With her son Andrew and crew chief Dan ‘The Man’ Burke and Matt Tate resolving the issues prior to her third and final heat race, Trish put in a hard-charging performance, driving from position seven to take the win, before later finding out that she had qualified in pole position for the Victorian Title-deciding feature race.
Full of adrenaline, Trish managed to make the most of her start, taking the early lead and holding her position on the pole line on what was a smooth track surface. Following a few stoppages, where she was able to retain her lead, Trish eventually saw the white flag and knew that success was just moments away.
Reminding herself to breathe as she completed her final lap, Trish didn’t put a foot wrong, going on to claim what could only be described as an emotion-charged victory.
“I was absolutely ecstatic when I crossed the finish line in first place and realised that I’d just won the Victorian Title,” commented Trish, who, along with fellow racer Michelle Sinclair Ballarat # 96, created history by becoming the first ever nannas to occupy the front row in a Victorian Title.
“There were so many emotions in the cockpit and I was quite overwhelmed by them all, particularly the relief of finally managing to pull it off after being second numerous times previously, as well as seeing my son Cam place second in the men’s Victorian Title.
“To say that it’s a huge family effort would be an understatement. I had so many family members and friends at the track cheering me on, which really bolstered me and gave me some confidence, so I have to say a huge thank you to them, along with all of my sponsors.”
Being born into the sport of speedway, Trish attended her first ever race meeting at just six months old, later marrying speedway racer John Dike, whose family had also had a long involvement in the sport.
Racing herself for around 27 years, Dike has contested multiple different classes, including Division 2 Hot Rods, Bumper Cars, Mini Sprints and One Litre Sedans, as well as enjoying a stint in her cousin Jack Day Wingless Sprint, where she impressively placed third overall in the first ever running of the Ladies in the Dirt Series, which she still credits as one of her favourite career highlights.
Photo: Random Panda Photography
Competing in Ladies Standard Saloons for the past few seasons, Trish has shared cars with both her husband John and her sons Cameron and Andrew, Bruce Bullard over the years as well as the old campaigner of the speedway Johnny Watson who is always there giving his car to her whenever she wanted it. With Husband John having initially built her current Vic # 37 Highline Racewear supported EL Ford Falcon, which was recently rebuilt by her other son Andrew and Dan Burke after being written off by Cameron at Drouin Speedway back in February.
Already having a significant amount of track time under her belt this season, Trish plans on doing as much racing as possible before the end of the 2017-18 season as soon as the Vic # 1 sticker has been added to her car.
For her next appearance, Trish will be back in action at Nyora Speedway on April 21.
Trish would like to thank the following 2017-18 season sponsors for their valued support: Highline Racewear (Fiona), Hush Designs, Ampworks Audio (Pedro), Ripper Sticker (Jamie), Bass Coast Tyre & Auto (Pat), Asset Plant Machinery, and Ramsdale Wreckers (Russell Hill).
Special thanks must to go to the following people: father-in-law John Dike Snr for help with the car, a great big special thanks to her son Andrew and Dan for all the hard work they put in not just on Sunday but all the time prior to make sure she had a race car that could be competitive, her husband John for all his support over the years always making sure they get there and for looking after the kids while she races, and the rest of her family and friends. Also, a great big thanks to her fellow lady racers whom without them she wouldn’t be able to do what they do and enjoy it. Thanks to Tracey Chippendale for the roof plate and her wonderful support.