Dylan Willsher emulates his dad’s Tassie triumph

WARRNAMBOOL formula 500 driver Dylan Willsher turned disappointment into a career high in the space of two weekends in Tasmania.
Willsher, 21, is the new Tasmanian titleholder after driving to a memorable victory at Carrick Speedway on Saturday night.
The triumph, ahead of Brad Whitchurch and Kristian Kelly, meant he replicated the feat of his father Darryl, who won the race in 2004.
No mainland driver claimed the Tasmanian title in the intervening years, giving the family a memorable piece of symmetry.
The win also went someway to avenging the disappointment of finishing unplaced in the Peter Redpath Memorial at Latrobe Speedway a week earlier.
Willsher was running third with 12 laps to go in that race when he hit the witches’ hat during a restart after a stoppage.
The infringement, a rookie error in speedway circles, meant stewards sent him to the rear of the field. He could only recover to fifth.
But the missed opportunity was little more than a memory on Saturday night when Willsher crossed the line to win the Tasmanian title.
The motorbike mechanic ranked the win as the biggest of his career. He said he was indebted to Tasmanian Matt Redpath who largely funded the trip.
“The Peter Redpath Memorial the weekend before, that was named after his dad. He died a few years ago from cancer,” he said.
“Matt was going to put money up for that but he decided he’d rather bring me over for the two weeks.
“I wanted to win the Peter Redpath Memorial more than the Tassie title, but the Tassie title is probably a bigger victory.”
Willsher also contested the Titch Jordan Memorial at Carrick Speedway on Friday night, retiring after two laps in the final due to engine troubles.
His next assignment is racing a speedcar at Murray Bridge on Saturday in the South Australian title for Adelaide car owner Rick McKay. Willsher will drive for McKay in the Speedcar Pro Series next summer. He will use the remaining meetings this season to adjust to the car.
“The equipment and gear I’ll have is brand new and second-to-none,” he said. But formula 500 fans can rest assured Willsher will still race in the class when time permits. 
He is yet to win the one race he longs for — the Jack Willsher Cup, named after his grandfather who raced in the class for almost five decades.
“I still haven’t achieved everything I want to achieve. (The Tasmanian title) is the biggest win to date but Pa’s cup is the one I want,” he said.
“I currently have a new car being built, that’s a half-secret at the moment, so I’ll be doing a limited schedule in the 500s.”

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