COBDEN driver Dale Walsh is set to graduate to speedway’s elite class after consecutive wins in the Super Rod Association’s season points score.
Walsh was crowned the 2013-14 season’s champion at a dinner in Warrnambool on Saturday night although the 26-year-old has little time to celebrate, preparing to step up to sprintcars.
But Walsh will not be lost to super rods, planning to contest about half-a-dozen events next season as he gets his first taste of sprintcars. “I sold the engine to help finance purchasing of the sprintcar,” Walsh said.
“I have to build another engine for the super rod.”
Walsh is looking forward to getting behind the wheel of his new Maxim.
“I’ve never driven a sprintcar before,” he said.
Walsh is heading to the United States for sprintcar’s unofficial world championship, the Knoxville Nationals in Iowa.
He hopes to learn more about the premier class before returning and putting the finishing touches on his car.
He expects he will start the season late and is setting low expectations as he learns to drive the winged beast. He is planning to start off with some Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria series races close to home before assessing whether he steps up to any of the bigger races.
Walsh collected 1487 points during the super rod season to edge out Michael Coad (1116) and Jason Grayland (1075) for the points aggregate.
“I had a feeling I had won but I wasn’t 100 per cent,” he said of his expectations heading to Saturday night’s dinner.
He had five feature race wins and seven seconds in another dominant year. The previous season he won eight feature races.
Mailors Flat teenager Michael McDonald was named rookie of the year following a debut season that included a calm drive to victory in the state title. He was fourth in the points race.
The association honoured long-serving volunteer George Woolstencroft, of Scotts Creek, a former racer and president. Public relations officer Linda Verhoeven received the president’s award.