Beau Riley may not have been a name that many people outside of his home state were familiar with prior to him venturing east for the first time in his career earlier this month, but by the time he returned home, the Production Sedan driver certainly made his presence felt.
Making the long trek across the Nullarbor over 3,700 kilometres east from his home in the coal mining town of Collie in Western Australia to Victoria with his partner Felicity, Riley’s visit wasn’t solely for sightseeing, with the WA # 40 Collie Tyre & Exhaust backed VS Holden Commodore pilot planning to contest both the Victorian and National Titles.
Having been in the best possible form heading into the Victorian Title at Bairnsdale Speedway, racking up four feature-race wins from four starts at his home track Collie Speedway, which boasts some of the toughest local competition in Western Australia, Riley was confident in his abilities, but amongst some of the country’s best drivers, he was still considered the underdog.
Qualifying third for the 30-lap feature race, Riley delivered a stellar drive throughout the distance, chasing down race leader and then current National Champion Trevor Mills after settling into second and eventually managing to execute a last-lap pass on his rival to claim an upset victory.
With this result proving that he had what it takes to go up against the best, Riley’s confidence was high as he prepared to contest the National Title at Hamilton’s Western Speedway a fortnight later.
After starting out of position four, Riley endured constant battles for position, doing very well to hold his position and cross the finish line in fourth place, capping off what was a successful eastern campaign.
“Prior to heading over east, the goal initially was to just make it into the feature races, but to be able to win a state title and claim a top-five finish in the National Title was certainly something that well and truly exceeded our expectations,” expressed the 38-year-old racer.
“I can’t thank my partner Felicity enough for all of her support throughout the whole trip, and it was great that we were able to have a bit of a holiday around Victoria in between race meetings. Without the support of my valued sponsors this trip just wouldn’t have been possible and I’m very grateful for all of their continued support.”
Getting his speedway career underway in the Junior Sedans class where he spent eight seasons, which were highlighted by three top-five Western Australian Title results, Riley then took an extended break from driver duties, focusing on his passion for playing Aussie rules football for his local team Collie Saints and then later Collie Eagles for the next 14 years, before once again being bit by the speedway bug in his late 20s when he joined the Production Sedan ranks.
Prior to his Victorian Title win and his top-five National Title result, Riley’s standout results had been a third-place finish in the 2017 Western Australian Title at Broome Speedway and a seventh-place finish in the 2013 National Title at Collie Speedway.
For the remainder of the 2018-19 season, Riley plans to contest the Western Australian Title at Ellenbrook Speedway from April 19 to 21, along with numerous local race meetings in the lead up to the event. Having now returned home, he will be back in action on the Saturday night of February 9 at Collie Speedway.
Later this season on April 6 at Collie Speedway, Riley is looking very forward to competing in the Race of Champions, which doubles as the Production Sedan 40-lapper, for the first time in his career. With the event only being eligible to drivers who have previously won title events, Riley has never previously been able to participate, with Shane Brittan having piloted his car in the past few seasons, so he will no doubt be hoping to continue his current form in the momentous race.
Riley is proudly supported by the following 2018-19 season sponsors: Collie Tyre & Exhaust, Piavanini Welding & Fabrication, Global Auto Electrical & Air Conditioning, Coalfields Wearparts, and Penrite Oils.
Special thanks go to his partner (Felicity), his dad (Graeme) who travelled east to crew at the National Title, his son Lachlan, Felicity’s dad Richard Nelson for the engine and dyno work he does, along with Paul Briggs, Phil Musarra and Riley Brown.
“Felicity and I would also like to thank both Bairnsdale and Hamilton Speedway tracks for the mammoth efforts of hosting the titles,” Riley praised.
“We met so many wonderful people on this journey, everyone was so welcoming and offered their homes and workshops to us.”