Beau takes on bigger boys
BEAU Saunders will be taking an interest in tomorrow night's CQ Fender Bender titles at Rockhampton Showgrounds, only as an on-looker.
Over the past few years Saunders has been one of the keenest competitors in that class of speedway racing, but not any more as he has moved up a few divisions and now battles it out in the Modified Production series.
"I would have liked to have raced for the CQ titles," Saunders said, "but I like the extra horsepower of the Production Series."
These days Saunders drives a 4L AU Falcon which, compared to some of the other racers in the division, is a little underpowered. "We are working on a new engine but I want to get used to driving the car first," he said.
Saunders is still a learner in the class and having raced his Falcon just once at the Rockhampton track, knows winning will be difficult.
In that race Saunders was near the front but finished in mid-field.
"I made one mistake and ended up finishing sixth," he lamented, "That was a reason I joined this division as they are better drivers."
The meeting has only attracted a small field of drivers but Saunders is looking forward to it as the competition will still be hot.
"We will be getting prepared for the big meeting on February 18," he said," The local boys will be tweaking their cars."
The February meeting at Rockhampton will have big prize money on offer and more than 30 of the best drivers of the Modified Production division from all over the state will attend.
This weekend will see Saunders renew his rivalry with Rockhampton racer Warren Johnson, a fellow competitor who has moved up from Fender Benders.
"It will be good to show him I can still beat him," Saunders joked.
While Saunders and Johnson will be fighting out their own battle tomorrow, there will be a few other drivers in the field worth watching.
"Matt Thomas, he will be out there," he said," He has a new VE Commodore; it is always good to race against him."
Also on the track will be Tony Gaunt, one of the quickest of the Rockhampton drivers, and Mackay's Wayne Gilroy who is likely to be the favourite to win.
"I'll just have to sit in the middle of the track and let the others give it a go," Saunders said, uncovering his race plan.
However it is how Saunders' Falcon performs that is the driver's main concern and he has had skilful helpers getting it prepared for racing.
Assisting with the set-up of the car is Super Sedan Ace Digger McCallum and Andrew Roberts, former owner of the Falcon.
"Digger is the kind of bloke who will always offer a helping hand," he said.
Also in the crew to keep Saunders racing are his grand-dad Jim Saunders, a retired mechanic and Beau's dad Darren.
"Grand-dad has started re-building my Fender Bender," he said.
While modified production racing is not a regular event at Rockhampton, all that is likely to change with Kingaroy taking some of the prestige races in the division from Maryborough.
Start your engines
Tomorrow night's Rockhampton Saloon Car Club race meeting roars into action at Rockhampton Showgrounds at 5.30pm
Divisions competing are CQ Fender Bender Titles, Super Stockers, Modified Production, Wingless Sprint Cars, V8 AMCA Nationals and Junior Sedans
There will also be a display run from crowd favourites the Super Sedans