TWO Mildura brothers plan on giving the Australian Speedway Kart Title currently being held in Mt Gambier a big shake.
Connor Aunger, and his brother, Liam, are contesting the Title, which commenced yesterday and finishes tomorrow in Mt Gambier, in two different classes.
Connor is competing in the Standards class, while Liam is hoping to bag his third National Title, and second in the Stardard Heavy division.
Connor progressed to Standards from Juniors last year, with COVID delaying the transition by a season.
After being introduced to kart racing by Liam, it’s now something that has become important to him.
“I love the sport because of the memories you make; on the road, on the track,” Connor said.
“That winning feeling; everything about it.”
With the experience of just one Australian Title tilt, being last year at Tamworth, Connor’s best result in the class at the National event is 11th. He has, however, proven he has what it takes to beat the best, finishing second in a South Australian Title as a junior.
Connor has been able to learn from the best in Liam.
Liam is the defending National Title holder in the Standard Heavy class, and has won another Australian Title previously in Junior Standards.
For Liam, his career in karting almost came by chance.
“Back in 2012 Alan Saint and the committee at Sunraysia Dirt Karters gave me my start,” Liam said.
“I had done a couple of bitumen kart races and those guys got me to drive the club owned speedway kart.
“And that was all it took.
“We ran that kart for a season and then we bought our own and were into it full time.
“I was 12 going on 13 and in 2013 Aunger Brothers Racing was founded.”
Liam said he wasn’t majorly successful until he won his first Australian Title in Junior Standards.
“We always managed to just step on the podium but never get main event wins until the Australian Title win in 2015,” he said.
“That was the major turn for us.”
Connor and Liam raced mainly locally until 2017.
And then Liam got his drivers license and there was no stopping the pair.
“Connor, my little brother, and I were off around the country racing 30 weekends a year,” he said.
“That was when we made it big and got better and better.
“The more we raced, the more tracks, the more people we raced against, the better we got.”
Liam said there are a lot of things he loves about the sport including the danger and the risk verses reward.
“I love the minimal safety compared to motor car racing, the feeling of doing 100kmh an inch from the ground.
“The wheel to wheel adrenaline rush it gives.
“And importantly I love the people in our sport.
“The friendships from across the country that we have formed as a team and particularly between Mildura and Melbourne will last us a lifetime.”
Something else that will no doubt last a lifetime, is the bond Connor and Liam have created further, the memories they make on their ventures and the support the provide each other with on as they race around the country.
Despite Liam missing a number of races due to injury in the lead up to 2021, he bounced back with his best season to date last year.
“I won the Melbourne Speedway Kart Club Championship, the Australian Title, Driver of the Year with Sunraysia Dirt Karters and finished second in their championship,” Liam said.
“Years of experience and travelling away racing different tracks gave us the upper hand and the confidence heading into what was our best season yet.”
This year, Aunger Brothers Racing haven’t done as much racing, instead opting to build up their engine program and catalogue of spares to give it their best at the National Title.
For Liam, giving himself the best shot at defending his title has also been physical.
“I’ve worked hard in the gym to get myself more race fit than I have ever been,” he said.
Making sure he is as well prepared as possible comes down to the fact Liam is competitive.
“I have an intense competitive winning nature,” he explained.
“I never go to a racetrack without planning on winning these days.
“We have put too much time blood and tears into our program to race for second place.
“So from the first night prepping the karts after our 2021 Australian Title win we were planning for a third.
“It lit the fire for another year of striving for another title and ability to hold the number one plate.
“It was a dream to win one, a dream come true to win two, but three would be everything.
“Only the greatest in the sport have achieved that and to go three times would be an enormous leap into the record books.”
– ZOEY ANDREWS