IT’S taken plenty of blood, sweat and tears and lots more in elbow grease.
But Bendigo speedway stalwart Kevin Clark has finally realised a more than 20-year ambition in the driver’s seat.
After years of chasing his dream, Clark landed his maiden state three-litre sedan title with a victory at Horsham’s Blue Ribbon Speedway last Saturday night.
The Maiden Gully driver outlasted a quality field in the 35-lap final, to edge out fellow Bendigo driver Daniel Wilson, with Ballarat’s Ross Burrows in third.
Clark, who started the final in third spot and was the sole driver in the field to race in a Ford, said it was easily the biggest thrill in his years behind the wheel.
“I’ve been racing since I was 14 or 15 …. I’m 43 now,” he said.
“We have been chasing it for years and every year we bomb out or don’t quite get there. I’ve drawn pole position in the big race before, but always managed to get taken out of the race.
“Last year I broke the track record at the state title meeting in Ballarat, but got taken with about 10 laps to go, but this year we stayed with them and brought it home.”
The title win earned Clark, who has been synonymous with the number four car for longer than he cares to remember, to wear the number one tag next season.
It capped a remarkably consistent season in which included six podium finishes from six races.
We have been chasing it for years and every year we bomb out or don’t quite get there. I’ve drawn pole position in the big race before, but always managed to get taken out of the race.Kevin Clark
Clark, who is one of dozens of Bendigo drivers plying their trade at speedways across Victoria and across the border in New South Wales and South Australia each summer, still laments the closure of his hometown track at Bendigo Showgrounds in the mid-1980s.
Social pressures and up-grade requirements from the local requirement are often cited as reasons for its demise.
“There’s a still a lot of people in Bendigo into their motorsport,” he said.
“(Bendigo Speedway Club) used to have about 130 members, but when we lost the track here, we lost a lot of members who went to other tracks, like Rushworth and Heartland Speedway in Moama.”