Rookie in a hurry
There is currently plenty of young talent coming through the V8 Dirt Modified ranks, and one of them is Ryley Smith.
Coming from Lismore in northern NSW, the 18-year-old has always wanted to go V8 Dirt Modified racing and this past season he made the massive leap from Junior Sedans into V8 Dirt Modifieds, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“With northern NSW being the hotbed for V8 Dirt Modifieds, I’ve grown up around the class and desire to race one has always been there,” commented Smith, whose dad, Paul, is an experienced speedway racer in classes like AMCA Nationals and Street Stockers.
“My dad always wanted to go V8 Dirt Modified racing himself when he was younger, but he was never able to make it happen due to budget, so it’s great for the whole family and a dream of mine come true for us all to go V8 Dirt Modified racing together.”
With only Junior Sedan experience to fall back on, Smith at the beginning of this season made the daunting move into V8 Dirt Modified racing. However, despite his limited experience, he has taken to the class very well and put in a number of impressive performances, including one during last month’s Australian Title at Lismore Speedway.
“Being able to qualify on the front row of an Australian Title in my first attempt was an achievement that well and truly exceeded my expectations and was certainly a massive confidence boost,” Smith expressed, who finished an impressive third in the second preliminary feature race on night one of the Australian Title.
“Heading into the Australian Title, I didn’t set any lofty goals, as the team and I were finding our feet in the class and we had been working our way through some teething issues with the car, so to come out and do what we did was awesome. Although the feature race didn’t go the way we planned (a DNF due to a flat tyre on the opening lap), we were very proud of what we did throughout the Australian Title weekend.”
Apart from the Australian Title performance, Smith’s other strong results from his debut season was a top-10 finish in the feature race at Lismore Speedway in only his fifth race meeting during the third and final Mr Modified Series round, which included his maiden heat race win, but he was stripped of the win due to being caught up in all of the excitement and made an error by forgetting to go to the post-race scales. Recently, he came away with his maiden feature-race podium finish with a second at Lismore Speedway.
Looking ahead to the future, Smith is very excited about it being within the V8 Dirt Modified ranks.
“I’m certainly not getting too ahead of myself and my goals for the foreseeable future are to continue to improve and work my way towards being a consistent top-five contender,” he enthused.
“The V8 Dirt Modifieds are one of the most competitive speedway classes in the country and I’m just grateful to be able to be a part of it all.”
There are no two ways about it, Ryley Smith is a name that you are going to hear a lot about in the coming years in V8 Dirt Modifieds.
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Photo: Butcher Photography