Drought breaks for Limestone Coast racer

CLASSY DRIVE: Jayden Edwards held off a fast-finishing pack to claim a feature race win in the MJS Street Stock series at the Riverland speedway, Renmark on Saturday night. Picture: GRANT SCHWARTZKOPFF

By Trevor Jackson

FOR third-generation speedway racer Jayden Edwards it has been a long time between drinks.

Edwards claimed a feature win in Round 1 of the Street Stocks MJS series on the weekend at Renmark’s Riverland Speedway after a tough battle.

But it had been over three years since his first win, so it was a welcome result.

“I had a win in the MJS about three and half years ago but this is the first one I have done since,” Edwards said.

“I have run second and third and fourth but haven’t been able to back it up until the weekend.”

The result was not handed to Edwards, with a green-white-chequered finish to the race after an incident late caused a restart.

Edwards led the pack but had to hold off a hungry group all chasing the win, with the pressure mounting as the green flag dropped for the final time.

“I felt like a sitting duck,” Edwards said.

“I thought I was doing well and had it in the bag then the cars were bunched up behind me again with two laps to go.

“That puts a bit of pressure on for sure.

“Sometimes they don’t call out the race order so you don’t know who is behind you, you don’t know what lines they are taking.

“I led the bulk of the way so I didn’t know what the guys behind me were doing.

“It was a tough one and I didn’t drive away from them, that’s for sure.”

Edwards led for much of the opening 15 laps, before being passed when stuck behind a lapped car with the half-time mark about to be called.

However, the leading driver then had tyre issues and Edwards regained the lead for the second part of the race in the opposite direction.

The small circuit meant lapped traffic was constantly in play, which caused a few issues for Edwards.

But in the end he held on for a well-deserved win.

Speedway is nothing strange to the 23-year-older driver, with his family involvement dating back to both his grandfathers.

His father Barry held an Australian title and Edwards has been involved in the racing scene since he was 10 years old.

In fact, Edwards said the recent coronavirus climate has been the longest he has been away from speedway for as long as he can remember.

“I was born and bred with it I guess,” he said.

“I went down the motorbike path when I was too young to hop in speedway cars, then when I was 10 years old I started in Junior Sedans.

“Dad didn’t have those luxuries – they had to wait until they were 15 or 16, so I had a bit of a jump start on those guys.”

Edwards said when he was running Junior Sedans there was one field, rather than an A and B Grade.

He said racing against the top drivers in the field helped shape his race craft.

“Back then you could start when you were 10 and finish when you were 16 or 17,” he said.

“You might be 10 and racing a 15 or 16 year old, so you didn’t get it easy but I didn’t mind.

“I preferred racing with the faster cars and getting beaten.

“If you are winning you are in a good spot and don’t need to try as hard, so it teaches you to work hard to get the wins.”

Now in his sixth year in the Street Stock category, Edwards said the racing is no easier.

The Limestone Coast is well known for producing state and national title holders, which makes even a club meet a tough race.

That in itself made Saturday’s win even sweeter.

“It has been a long time between wins,” Edwards said.

“I got the first one early and thought I had it all sorted.

“Then I got a big reality check and have been working hard ever since.”

Speaking of tough races, the next challenge for Edwards is his home track at the Borderline Speedway for Round 2 of the MJS series where he expects the competition to be just as tight.

“Victoria is not doing a lot of racing at the moment so I think there would be a lot of Victorians itching to do something,” he said.

“It will be a big night.”