SPEEDWAY racing is set to take it up a notch when the World Series Sprintcar season kicks off next week.
The WSS begins with Speedweek in Murray Bridge on December 26, with a day off before the winged warriors descend on Mount Gambier’s Borderline Speedway on the Friday.
The program will then head to Warrnambool and on to Avalon, before returning to Warrnambool for the New Year’s Day showdown.
From there the WSS heads up to Brisbane for the Australian Open on January 4-5, another round on January 9, then across to Western Australia for Round 8 in Albany, before the final two meetings in Perth on February 22 and 23.
Included in the mix this season is Mount Gambier’s Glen Sutherland, again a contracted driver for 2018-19.
Sutherland joined the ranks of the contracted drivers last season and was pleased with his efforts.
“We were pretty happy how it all panned out last season,” he said.
“We really had no expectations going in to be anywhere in the points score, it was just to make each show and learn from that.”
Sutherland said there was no extra pressure being a contracted driver, due to the quality of the fields around.
“Coming up to the month of January and into February it does not matter where you run, you always have the best of the best drivers about,” he said.
“It is no more pressure than any other race we put on ourselves.”
With that in mind Sutherland said it was a simple call to return as a contracted driver this season.
“Something we always wanted to do was be on World Series, to follow it around the country,” he said.
“It is a fantastic series, you meet great people, it is a fantastic sport and you see a lot of the country.
“It is really good racing night in, night out.
“We did the local scene for a long time and now we are in a position we can go and compete around Australia.”
Every racing driver wants to win races and for Sutherland it is no different.
However, he has a simply philosophy heading into the 2018-19 season.
“You always want to go better than the season before,” Sutherland said.
“If you do not try to do that, there is not much point racing.
“I’m not going out to put a heap of pressure on ourselves.
“We just want to go out, be relaxed, see what comes about, try to get some good results and just enjoy it.
“That’s what it is all about.”
Those good results are certainly within reach, with Sutherland’s car again on the pace.
He said he is pleased with the performance so far, with time trials a real positive.
“We are more than happy with our pace,” Sutherland said.
“We seem to be time trialling better than we have before.
“That sets you in good stead for the rest of the night.”
The sport has certainly continued its popularity in recent years, with plenty of top drivers contesting the WSS events, along with a host on young rising stars joining the ranks.
That combined with the availability of equipment makes for a tough night for any driver and plenty of entertainment for fans.
“I think it is getting tougher because you can get good parts straight off the shelf,” Sutherland said.
“Everyone out there now has pretty much the same equipment as each other.
“Some guys’ motors might be stronger or newer, but all the equipment is relatively the same.
“There are also some young guys out there now who have been racing since they were five, so they have had a lot of experience behind the wheel of something.
“They are into it straight away which is good.
“I think the sport is healthy, the car counts are right up there and every night we go racing there is anywhere between 35-50 cars.”
Sutherland said one thing he was again able to rely on was his support at race meetings, with crew chief Glen Beaten, along with Kent Collins.
“I am fortunate I do not have to worry about my car breaking down because I have a fantastic crew,” he said.
“That takes a lot of pressure and stress out of it because I know each time I get in the car it is right and we are going to be quick.
“Glen and Kent do a fantastic job and I cannot speak highly enough of them.”
While there is just one WSS event at the Borderline Speedway, it is certainly one Sutherland said he looks forward to.
“It is always great to race at home, for my family, friends and people who have helped me along the way,” he said.