Kingaroy speedway driver makes history
KINGAROY driver Nathan Barbeler has become the first Queensland driver to finish on the podium in a street stock national title.
"It was one of our biggest achievements to be on the podium,” he said.
According to Barbeler, it was one of the hardest sedan race meetings in the world with 134 cars racing to win.
Racing on the "unbelievably rough” Mildura track for the first time had its challenges.
Barbeler said picking the best line was key to success and that while the ruts in track were the fastest place to be, they put a lot of pressure and heat on the car.
His goal for the meeting was simple, make the A-main final and then anything could happen.
While he achieved this, it didn't come without its challenges.
A collapsed rear arm and k-frame issues on the first night forced him to finish seventh overall in the third heat.
He was sitting in 51st after one night of racing, at least 20 places back from where he wanted to be, and not an ideal position by his own admission.
Alongside his mum, Michelle, and dad, David, he worked on his car until 3am.
The next day he returned to the track, won his heat and scored a place in the B-main final.
"We were just picking them off one by one and made it it into the top four after stoppages,” he said.
Barbeler got into second place where he stayed for the rest of the race and crossed the line.
He had enough time between races to put fuel in the tank and return to race for the win in the A-main.
"I didn't have many expectations. I just waited at the back for 20 laps and waited to make my move,” Barbeler said.
"I was in 10th place at halfway to go and decided to get a move on.
"I knew I was in the top 10 but not the top five and it was unreal,” he said.
Barbeler, who has been in the driver's seat since he was 10-years-old, made history with his fifth place result, which rounded out the five-person podium.
From junior sedans he stepped up to modified sedans and then made the switch to street stocks four years ago.
"It is challenging, because it comes down to driver ability rather than the set-up of the car. You flip a coin and race around the track either way.”
He said the result wouldn't of happened without the support of family and sponsors.
"Sponsors make it happen and make the car look good so we wouldn't be where we are without them,” he said.
"My parents help me out a lot and they drove all the way down towing my car.”
Barbeler will now focus to competing at the Queensland titles in Toowoomba looking to better his result of third from 2018.
"It definitely puts more pressure on yourself and a bit more expectation from others that you will do well.”
Barbeler is thankful for the continued support from Kingaroy Equipment Sales, Pro One Race Parts, A1 Race Car Fabrications and fellow drivers Travis Hutchinson and Robert Trapp.