Morris makes smooth transition

PAUL Morris never envisaged he would be in the seat of a sprintcar when he started out in motorsport at age 17.

His forte then, and for almost the next three decades, was circuit racing — a passion that delivered him a third in the Bathurst 1000 in 1999.

But fast forward to Saturday night and Morris was contesting his second Lucas Oil Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Premier Speedway.

The Gold Coast resident, 46, is one of only a handful of drivers who have successfully raced on the V8 Supercars and sprintcars circuit.

His involvement with the V8s extends to just the three enduros — the Gold Coast 600, Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000, driving for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.

But he is fitting in as many sprintcar meetings in as possible since entering the class in 2009, hitting the track 40 times during this season and the previous one.

“A friend of mine had a car and we had just finished the Phillip Island round (of the V8 Supercars) four years ago and I went and had a ride in it,” he said.

“It was about the time I was retiring from full-time driving and I just wanted something to do so I didn’t get bored.”

The 42nd Classic wasn’t exactly kind to Morris. He was part of the action on night two but struggled against the world-class field.

He qualified 37th and ran 11th and 10th in his two heats, ultimately missing the C main to be on the back foot heading into night three.

“My goals are a lot different to a lot of other people’s and it’s hard at my age to learn something new,” Morris said.

“But it’s good, I enjoy the people and the camaraderie. I wanted to just come down and have some fun, run some laps and get to watch some good racing.

“My first heat race wasn’t very good but I had a good second heat race. But I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

“The best people in the world are here and I’m happy to be here.”

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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