Seabrook’s Corey Clifford had long admired the skill of speedway kart drivers before deciding to don the racing gear.
For 15 years, he was drawn to the track as a spectator, eyes fixed on the action and heart pumping as the karts whirred past.
It was not until he moved to Melbourne from South Australia for work three years ago that he ramped up his interest and went from a fan to a competitor.
“It was always something that I wanted to get into and then I came across the Melbourne Speedway Kart Club Facebook page,” he said, telling Star Weekly the majority of race meetings took place at a Bacchus Marsh track.
“I made a decision to get in contact with them and find out a little bit about the sport and what the costs could be to get into the sport through club president Michael Van Ginneken.”
Clifford bought a go kart, converted it for dirt tracks and the dream was alive.
The 25-year-old has taken to competitive racing like a duck to water in his first season.
The rookie hit speeds of up to 90km/h en route to victory at the Nagambie 55 Lap Gold Rush last month.
“That was my first feature win,” he said enthusiastically.
“I put the finger up across the finish line and I was pretty pumped.
“We didn’t have a large field of karts but the racing was still really competitive and I think the spectators got a good show.”
It was not all plain sailing for Clifford across the weekend.
If not for the mechanical nous of other people at his club, he might not have made it on to the start line.
Clifford’s kart was not getting the full spark due to an issue in the engine and it was discovered that a spark plug lead had melted and was short-circuiting the motor.
“I wasn’t sure what it was so I got another guy to have a look and he picked it up straight away,” Clifford said.
“We cable tied it back so it wasn’t against the exhaust and it fixed the issue.
“I had two DNFs in my heat races, but I won a feature race on the Saturday and then on Sunday I came from the rear of the field to win the main feature.–
“Once we sorted the issues it was very fast.”
Clifford, who works for irrigation solutions company Netafim in Laverton, has big plans for 2015.
His sights are set on competing at the All Power Nationals in Mildura and the Australian titles to be held at Waikerie.
“I’m hoping to run maybe top 10 or top 15 at the Aussie titles and All Powers,” he said.
“I’d be stoked with that being my first season.
“I have purchased some equipment and done some modifications to get me a bit faster and since making some of those changes, I’m getting quicker and quicker every time I hit the track.
“I’m not putting hopes on wins and podiums at the bigger race events, but I’m just aiming to do the best that I can every time I hit the track.”
– See more at: http://www.starweekly.com.au/1833486-seabrook-speedway-rookie-corey-clifford-races-to-titles/#sthash.55vqTXey.dpuf