Chipping Norton resident Harley Smee had one goal heading into his first season of speedway.
“I wanted to try and not wreck a lot of stuff,” he said.
“To finally get the opportunity to race a speedcar after spending so much time around them growing up is an amazing opportunity.”
It’s an opportunity he has grabbed with both hands.
The 23-year-old qualified directly into the feature race at Valvoline Raceway on debut recently and piloted his Eagle-powered CEJN / Chief Fluid Systems supported Spike car from 20th into 11th.
He backed that up on the weekend driving his No.57 car to second place in the third round of the Polar Ice Series at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway in Queensland
He now has a new goal: to keep improving and win a race.
Smee has the right pedigree for success.
His grandfather Gordon is a legend in the speedway scene from his time at Liverpool Speedway and racing grand nationals.
His uncle Nathan is a former Australian speedcar champion who purchased and maintains Harley’s car.
“I used to get snuck into the pits and help my uncle when I was 10 and now to have him set up the car has made the transition a lot easier,” said Smee, who will race against his uncle throughout the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship.
“The competition is very tough, but we were really pleased with how we performed during our first race meeting and I can’t thank my uncle Nathan enough for giving me a chance to fulfil a dream of mine. Hopefully we can continue to learn and become more competitive throughout the season.”
This is the fifth season behind the wheel for Smee. He spent a year in the Legends class before seasons competing in Wingless Sprints for the past three years.
So what’s the biggest difference in racing speedcars?
“The speed. They are unbelievably quick and good fun. It’s thrilling and gets the blood pumping,” he said.
“The speed on the straight is not a problem; it’s when you have to go around the corner and the car is sideways and the car feels like it is going to roll over.
“It’s a funny feeling. Nothing else matters when you are in the car. As soon as the car starts, you are focused on everything out there.”
- Smee will next compete in round five of the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship at Valvoline Raceway on December 8.