Tyler Owen changes gear in switch from circuit racing to formula 500s

TYLER Owen provides an insight into his motorsport past when he’s asked about the hardest aspect of a formula 500 car.

“Not braking and only turning left,” comes the answer from the Warrnambool speedster, with a chuckle but also a serious overtone.

“I’m getting my head around not changing gears once you’re on the track. After the start you can leave it in second gear.

“Circuit racing, you’re up and down through the gears, left and right through the corners and there’s a lot heavier braking.”

Owen, 22, has traded circuit racing on asphalt for the clay of speedway this summer.

The builder spent five years driving in the Aussie Racing Cars Super Series, finishing an agonising second on a countback in 2011.

But the travel demands ultimately took their toll and he sold his car 12 months ago.

Then came the new adventure — he bought a second-hand formula 500 car from former Bairnsdale driver Lee Hardess.

“I raced at Murray Bridge about two or three weeks back. That was my first race,” Owen said of his formula 500 debut.

“It was completely different and backwards to everything I’ve done. But we ended up running sixth at the first meeting. I was pretty happy with that.”

The encouraging start gave rise to contesting Speedweek, which starts at Mount Gambier’s Borderline Speedwday tomorrow night.

Owen knows he is unlikely to challenge for the overall honours. He wants consistency in his efforts and to return to the pits with the car intact.

“Running consistently without having a DNF (did not finish) is what I want to do. If I made the top 10 every night I would be happy,” he said.

“Most of the guys who run in the category have two or three years’ more experience than I do. And speedway is definitely a different thing to asphalt racing.”

Owen said he hoped to return to circuit racing one day but the cost of competing and living in Warrnambool made a comeback difficult.

His dream is to race in the V8 Supercar Series, something he got a taste of during a test drive about three years ago.

“I definitely miss circuit racing. I’d love to do it again one day if the opportunity came about,” he said.

“Based on the location of where we are, it adds a lot of time and cost to get to a lot of the events.”

Speedweek continues at Hamilton’s Western Speedway on Sunday night and Allansford’s Premier Speedway on New Year’s Day.

The next three events are at Laang, Darlington and Simpson before the grand final at Premier Speedway on January 5. 

Queenslander Nathan Pronger is the defending champion.

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