Atkins in form to win Qld Title
GYMPIE speedway competitor Tim Atkins relied on pure courage at the weekend to lay his hands on the Queensland Street Sedan Title.
Atkins clinched the coveted street sedan title at Mothar Mountain during the Easter long weekend double header.
The Gympie driver, who teamed up with co-driver of five years Cameron Klee, came out on top from a quality field of 47 drivers, surviving three heats Saturday and two Sunday before working his magic in a hotly contested 40-lap feature final.
“It feels great,” an elated Atkins said yesterday speaking to The Gympie Times.
“I was surprised to win but it’s a good result.”
The title is Atkins’ second after first claiming the honour in the 2007/2008 season in Rockhampton.
After failing to defend his crown in Maryborough the season following, the street sedan champion was keen to atone for the loss.
But winning the Queensland Street Sedan Title was not straightforward for the speedway enthusiast, who was forced dig deep after coming up against numerous setbacks.
Included in the setbacks was a disqualification in the second heat Saturday after taking out the opening heat with a polished performance.
“There was a racing incident and I was deemed to be responsible, so we were disqualified and lost all points from that heat,” Atkins said.
Gaining maximum points in the first heat and then failing to register a finish in the second heat was a mixed start for Atkins.
Instead of dwelling on the disqualification, Atkins bounced back in the third heat, gritted his teeth and let his driving do the talking – collecting another impressive heat win.
Returning Sunday night, Atkins finished fifth in the fourth heat and was hit hard with another setback in the final heat before the feature when he was inflicted with a damaged valve springs in his motor.
“We couldn’t do much except limp home in that heat,” he said.
Having acquired enough points to qualify in 12th position for the 20-driver feature final, Atkins first had to repair his damaged machine.
“We had plenty of time to carry out the repairs, so that was good,” he said.
“I have a great crew and some of the members of other crews helped out as well.”
In the final itself, Atkins said his initial thought was “just to finish” after all the hard-luck he had endured.
But when the green lights came on, the competitive streak in Atkins’ blood surged.
“I knew I was still a chance despite sitting mid-field because I have won from there before,” Atkins said.
“I just had to stay out of trouble and take my chances.”
The street sedan title holder had a dream start, moving up through the pack within the first eight laps to be sitting in the top three.
From there, he gained the lead and held on for the remainder of the race, despite many stoppages.
“It was hard to get some rhythm because of all the re-starts, and that benefits those chasing you, but I managed to hold on,” he said.
Coming in second was South Burnett competitor Josh Harm followed by Sarah Franz.
Atkins said he was undecided on what his next move would be, but was keen to kick back and savour the win for a while.
Meanwhile, the Easter long weekend speedway double header was a massive hit with fans who filled the stands to watch the battle for the street sedan title.
I knew I was still a chance despite sitting mid-field because I had won from there before.