Ten years ago Brendan Wakeman got the taste for speedway racing at Dungog Show’s demolition derby.
Over the next few years the 32-year-old travelled around the local shows to continue the bump and grind, even heading to Parramatta speedway.
He loved the sport so much that he even gave up smoking to finance his new-found love.
While he still loves fender bender racing he now concentrates fully on street stockers.
“The two are quite different with fender benders spinning each other on the track while street stockers are stock standard cars that race flat out with no contact,” Brendan said.
“Last season I took out the Sydney Club Championship and also won the ACT Street Stocker title at Canberra’s ACT Speedway.
“And to top it off, I came second in the Street Stockers Australian titles a week ago.”
To qualify for the final Brendan came second, fourth and first in the heats and qualified sixth in the title feature race.
He reached speeds of up to 120 km/h during the 30 lap race.
“After a few incidents in the race, including an encounter with a wall, I dropped to eighth position,” he said.
“But I clawed my way back to finally come second.
“Going into the final I didn’t have huge expectations but I wanted to be there [finish] at the end.
“I started roping in the winner over the last few laps but just couldn’t get there.”
Nearly every three weeks Brendan is on the road to tracks at Narrabri, Nowra, Gunnedah, Gilgandra, Dubbo, Tamworth and the Valvoline raceway at Parramatta.
Participation at these events doesn’t come cheap, costing between $300 to $400 for entry fees, fuel and overnight stays.
“If it wasn’t for the support of my wife Bianca and daughter Stella, I would find it really hard,” he said.
“I also have some wonderful sponsors who have come on board to help.
“My next big race is competing as defending champion of the Sydney Club Championship on May 7.
“It’s run on points and I think I am in with a chance.”
Brendan’s sponsors are Barrington Bakery, PBOZ, John Lodge Water Carts, Autobarn, Dungog Tyre Service, Tyres and More Rutherford and the Royal Hotel.