Evans trades tar for dirt
Experienced go kart racer Rory Evans has spent most of his motorsport career competing on the tar circuits, but during the off season he decided that it was time for a change, embracing the world of dirt track racing and stepping onto the speedway scene via the Production Sedans class.
Having been born and bred around speedway, Evans’s desire to race on dirt was somewhat of a natural progression, and one that he first indulged back in 2002 when the Cooroy, Queensland-based racer spent a season racing Junior Street Sedans, before returning to the tar to race go karts locally for a further two years.
Spending many seasons pit crewing for former National Modified Sedan Champions Gary Pagel and Brett Baxter, Evans continued to race go karts for the next six years following his move from Cooroy to Gladstone next six years, the last two of which saw him compete in the KZ2 class all around the country in the National Championship.
It wasn’t until the off season when he made the move back to Cooroy and he decided to make the transition into Production Sedans, being attracted to the affordability and competitiveness of the class.
Purchasing a VX Holden Commodore from Patrick Brennan, the 31-year-old driver enjoyed a shakedown run in a practice session at Gympie’s Mothar Mountain Speedway, before taking some setup advice from Pagel and implementing changes that would better suit his driving style in readiness for his debut season.
Collecting an impressive five minor podium finishes, two of which took place after leading feature races at Mothar Mountain Speedway only to be pipped on the last lap, Evans was feeling cautiously confident heading into last Saturday night’s fifth Ian Boettcher Race Parts Series round at Maryborough Speedway.
Winning two of his three heat races and placing second in the other, after also taking out the top 6 dash, Evans was set to start the 20-lap feature race from pole position and it was clear from the outset that he was in a class of his own, going flag to flag to finish over two seconds clear of his nearest rival and score his maiden feature-race win.
“It’s such an amazing feeling to win my first feature race in Production Sedans, especially after being so close on a few occasions,” commented Evans, whose highlights in go karts included placing third in a Queensland Title in the Tag Open Closed, along with winning a C Grade Queensland Title in the Tag Restricted class.
“There’s a lot of tough competition in this class, so without the help of Gary (Pagel) in terms of setup and driving advice, I definitely wouldn’t have come so far this quickly.
“I’m absolutely loving my move into Production Sedans and I particularly appreciate how much less taxing speedway is physically than go karts. I’m also enjoying the fact of being in a closed cockpit, which has allowed me to focus a lot more out on the track.”
Hoping to participate in the Queensland Title on April 13 at Maryborough Speedway, which has proven to be a happy hunting ground for him, Evans will be back in action on the Saturday night of March 2 at Mothar Mountain Speedway.
Evans would like to thank his 2018-19 season sponsors:
Airmark Air Conditioning
Wholesale Property Edge
Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary
Gary Pagel Racing Developments
Special thanks must go out to Brett and Keith Baxter, Gary Pagel and the whole GPRD crew, and Evans’s partner Bree Wright and their son Taj.