Mildura Weekly : Friday January 8 Vol 10 No 9
SPORT 27 FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 2016 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU Trevor 0407 632 160 08 8541 0200 | www.sprintfreight.com.au EXPRESS FREIGHT SERVICE SERVICING THE RIVERLAND ADELAIDE & THE SOUTH EAST OF SA SUNRAYSIA speedway driver Mitch Gladman flew out of Mildura this morning to compete in one of the United States’ biggest motorsport events - the Chili Bowl Midget Na- tionals. Held in one of the largest indoor facilities in the world, the Chili Bowl is an indoor midget speedway event held at Oklahoma’s massive River Spirit Expo Centre, boast- ing 10.5 acres of floor space. Mitch will be one of more than 300 drivers competing in the event next week and will be the only Australian - just five countries are repre- sented in the event which features the very biggest names in American motorsport. In layman’s terms, midget speedway cars are essentially scaled down sprintcars, minus the large aerodynamic wings that pro- vide sprintcars with their stability. And rather than large capacity V8 motors, midget speedway cars are powered by high-revving four cylin- der engines. Despite their diminutive size, midget speedway cars are big on performance, pumping out up to 450 horsepower, which is more than enough to propel the light-weight midget chassis to eye-watering speeds around the man-made Chili Bowl circuit. Mitch’s entry in the massive event, which is often sold out months in advance, is very much a ‘jump in the deep end’. Mitch has never driven a midget speedway car, hasn’t met his Ameri- can-based team, and has never raced at the Chili Bowl – or outside Aus- tralia. The Sunraysia-based driver has paid for a drive with team owner, Johnny Murdock, who owns five midget speedway cars. As part of the deal, Mitch gets ac- cess to a midget speedway car for the duration of the week- long event, the ser- vices of the team’s pit crew, and any spare parts and tyres he requires throughout the event – a much cheaper proposition than buying and then transporting his own equipment to the United States. The Chili Bowl is recognised as one of the world’s most sought after off-road motorsport titles, not only due to its size, but the high calibre of drivers. Previous competitors have in- cluded a long list of Nascar stars including Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne, World of Outlaws sprintcar drivers Terry McCarl and Sammy Swindell, and NHRA drag racing champions Cruz Pedregon and Gary Scelzi among a host of top tier Amer- ican drivers. This year’s event is no different, with current Nascar stars Kyle Larson and Rico Abreu, who is defending Chili Bowl champion, among the 335-driver field. Mitch said he’d initially only in- tended to go to the event as a specta- tor. “I’ve been a fan of the event and watched it for about three years, and I was definitely going to go this year, but as a spectator,” he said. “Then I started talking to a guy over in the United States (Johnny Murdock), because I knew he nor- mally took a few cars each year and it’s just snowballed from there,” he said. While he may be new to the Chili Bowl, Mitch is certainly no stranger to motorsport. He started out racing motocross before making the switch to dirt karts several years ago, winning sev- eral State titles and finishing on the podium at national title level twice. Mitch then turned his driving talents to wingless sprintcars, which he has raced successfully for the past three years. Despite the daunting prospect of competing against some of the big- gest names in international motors- port, including drivers he’s watched for years on television, Mitch said he’s relishing the opportunity. “I’m going more for the experi- ence than anything else,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to rac- ing the car, the atmosphere and the calibre of drivers that are going to be there. “Depending how I go, some- thing might pop up later down the track, but you don’t know until you try.”Mitch leaves this morning and will arrive in the United States to- morrow afternoon. He’ll then have two days to get rid of any jetlag, meet his team and acclimatise to his surroundings be- fore practice on Tuesday (Australian time). There are four nights of qualify- ing, and Mitch will qualify on the Thursday night (Friday morning Australian time) before racing starts on Sunday (Australian time). Mitch is supported by Gumby Motorsports, Beasley Motorsport, One on One Training, Mick and Phil Matthews, Travis Beasley, All Seasons Car Detailing Mildura, Let’s Torque Motorsport, MWRC Mildura, Exposed Signage and Apparel, Eco Phase Electrical and Solar, Team Dirt Dog,R&LAutoElectrics,G&KEn- terprises and Gumby’s Tyre Repairs. To follow his progress, visit www. chiliibowl.com. Mitch bound for Chili Bowl Midget Nationals • KEEN: Sunraysia speedway driver Mitch Gladman, INSET, has left the familiar surrounds of Timmis Speedway for the massive Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. The photograph, ABOVE, shows the enormity of the pit area during a previous Chili Bowl event. Mitch on his way to a State dirt kart title, LEFT. Workers Gol-Gol cricket star selected for Victoria Country WORKERS Gol-Gol Cricket Club all-rounder Lauren McLean (PICTURED) has been selected to represent Victoria at the 2016 Austral- ian Country Cricket Cham- pionships in Mt Gambier. The 19-year-old Patche- wollock product is the only Mallee Murray representa- tive to be named in Victo- ria’s squad of 13. Starting on Wednesday and finishing next Tuesday, this is the first time in 31 years that the champion- ships have featured a stand- alone women’s division. Speaking to the Mildu- ra Weekly on Monday, Lau- ren said she couldn’t wait to test herself against the best regional women’s cricketers in the country. “I am pretty excited,” she said. “This is will be the first time playing for Victoria, so I’m a little bit nervous.”Selected following impressive performances for Workers Gol-Gol, Lau- ren intends to put her best foot forward at the carnival.“Hopefully I can further develop my game,” she said. “If I can perform well, I can get my name out there, which will help with future opportunities.” Starting her career with Tempy Tigers – where she was competing against boys – Lauren has spent the last two seasons travelling from Patchewollock to play in the Sunraysia Women’s Cricket Association.
Friday December 25 Vol 10 No 8
Friday January 15 Vol 10 No 10