Dehne Sparrow’s story isn’t one of luck, but one of unfailing perseverance, with his resolve recently rewarding him with the biggest milestone of his speedway career in the Production Sedan class.
As with any motorsport discipline, speedway comes with both the good and the bad, but when the bad starts to outweigh the good, it can be difficult for drivers to remember why they continue to sacrifice their time and effort for no return, as was the case for Sparrow, whose continued mechanical and engine issues had him rethinking his involvement in the sport as a driver.
Choosing instead to persist with his unique Vic # 91 Hamilton Exhaust Centre / DC & JM Auto Electrics backed UC Holden Torana ahead of the recent National Title on home soil at Hamilton’s Western Speedway, the 46-year-old driver’s hard work well and truly paid off, following an upset runner-up finish after qualifying fifth for the 40-lap National Title deciding feature race.
“I can’t even express how glad I am that I stuck with the car and was able to get on top of it, and to complete the National Title weekend with a podium finish was a total shock but something that my family is very proud of,” admitted the President of Western Speedway, who resides in the country Victoria town of Hamilton.
“The goal was just to finish the feature race, so to bring home a podium finish at my home track, surrounded by my family and supporters, was an amazing feeling and it’s a result that’s given me a new lease on my racing.”
Following in his dad Bryan’s tyre tracks, second-generation racer Sparrow stepped into the driver’s seat of his LJ Torana to race B Grade Sedans at the age of 16, before graduating to A Grade Sedans a couple of seasons later years later, when he had the opportunity to race against his dad in the early 1990s when Bryan enjoyed a brief stint out of retirement.
Progressing to a VB Holden Commodore, followed by a VK Holden Commodore during this time, Sparrow’s highlights including winning the 1994 Jarrod Pathway Cup at Western Speedway, along with numerous Zone point scores
In the late 1990s, Sparrow then decided to take a break from driver duties to focus on business commitments when he took over as the owner of local business Hamilton Exhaust Centre.
Waning to make a return to the track in 2010, Sparrow got talking with Paul Turnbull, the brother of Shane Turnbull who worked for Sparrow, and the pair began racing 100 lapper races and 3 Hour Enduro events at Alexandra Speedway, winning two 3 Hour Enduro events with Paul in 2011 and 2014.
Making the move to the national Production Sedan class in 2014, Sparrow purchased his UC Holden Torana, enjoying a competitive run throughout the past four seasons, with his best previous result being a fourth-place finish in the 2016 NSW Title at Leeton’s Brobenah Raceway.
Sparrow would like to thank the following 2018-19 season sponsors for their support:
Hamilton Exhaust Centre
DC & JM Auto Electrics
Hamilton PK Bearings
Craig Handreck Spreading Services
S&J Wilson Ag and Trucking Contractors
B&D Symons Engine Reconditioners
Airlie Agricultural Contractors
He would also like to give special thanks to his wife (Kim) and their two daughters (Makenzee and Indy), his mum and dad (Robyn and Bryan), his engine builder Peter Wilson, Shane Hammond, Benny Barker, and the entire Western Speedway club, who has been very supportive of him, allowing him to focus on his racing during the National Title weekend.