By Trevor Jackson
LIMESTONE Coast motorcycle racer Dallas Skeer was honoured on Saturday night as the recipient of the inaugural Strathalbyn Festival of Motorcycling Kenny Blake Scholarship.
The scholarship was awarded to Skeer after an extensive submission, which outlined his achievements so far in the sport.
Those achievements include a Hartwell Motorcycle Club championship back in 2014 in the 80cc category, TT and Sprint series wins in 2015, the lap record at McNamara Park in the 125cc class in 2016, along with the Hartwell series and George Carrick Memorial championship for the club.
In 2017 Skeer stepped up to the Moto3 class and was runner-up in the Australian championship.
In 2018 he took on the 600cc Australian Supersport Championship at just 16 years-of-age, with a top-10 finish in his first year.
His best result was a sixth place at Darwin.
He improved on that in 2019 with another top-10 season performance and a fourth place at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria.
Of course the covid-19 pandemic put an end to 2020, but Skeer still raced at his home track of McNamara Park, with a new lap record on the 600cc Suzuki, along with a third place in the Master of Mac Park feature race behind two 1000cc Superbikes.
The scholarship itself includes financial support with race licensing and entry fees, along with training and ride days through Motorcycle SA and the California Superbike School based out of Phillip Island, plus a few other items.
Skeer is clearly worthy to be awarded the scholarship but often does not see his achievements as anything special at the time.
The award ceremony was a time for him to reflect.
“The last couple of years, what I have been doing, I’ve just been taking it as it comes,” Skeer said.
“When you are racing in the Australian championships you forget what you are actually doing.
“I’ve been racing at the highest level in Australia for the last three years so it woke me up to what I have actually achieved.
“Everyone who was there was really supportive and it made me feel good about my racing and makes me want to push on.”
Despite the good feelings, Skeer said the scholarship would be a big help to his career.
“It will help us out massively,” he said.
“We will be able to put the money we are saving through entry fees towards other stuff.
“We can put it into our suspension program and those sort of things.”
As for the name Kenny Blake which goes hand-in-hand with the scholarship, Skeer has a connection through a sponsor Ron Angel.
“Kenny Blake used to race overseas and won Australian championships,” he said.
“He was killed racing overseas but had worked with my sponsor Ron Angel, which is a good link.”
Blake was born and bred in South Australia out of the township of Strathalbyn, but later moved to Victoria.
He was one of the best in the business in his day and of course the Victorians claimed him as their own.
In recent years Strathalbyn has looked to set the record straight, with a statue erected in the township, handcrafted from old motorcycle parts and tools.
The 11-time Australian champion has been described as the greatest South Australian sportsman no one has heard of.
Skeer said it is a real honour to have Blake’s name now attached to his career.
“This scholarship will really help take my racing to the level it needs to be to win a championship,” he said.
“Just the financial savings and the extra track time at Phillip Island will be great but also to be able to represent Kenny Blake.”
An interesting touch was added to the night, with bottles of Bleasedale wine signed by Skeer presented to those in attendance, only to be opened when he wins his first 600cc Australian championship.
“That was a nice touch,” Skeer said.
“It will keep those people who were there in the loop, they can follow my career and hopefully we can open the wine up in the next couple of years.”