YOU could argue that Cam Waters is returning home to Mildura this weekend, or you could also argue that, considering it is said home is where the heart is, he equally could also be returning home to Timmis Speedway.
Either way, it’s clear that both Mildura, the town, and Timmis Speedway, the club and track, mean a lot to the Tickford Racing Supercars driver.
He might be a famous racecar driver now, but Cam hasn’t forgotten where he comes from.
Cam arrived back in Mildura, fresh off the latest round of Supercars in Melbourne, earlier this week and together with big brother Jarod, caught up with Mildura Weekly journalist Zoey Andrews ahead of a big weekend of racing for them both.
The duo will both be in action at Timmis Speedway both tonight and Sunday night – Cam in a Sprint Car and Jarod in his Modified Sedan.
Cam’s no stranger to racing speedway.
He’s driven a Late Model – and won a South Australian Title – and he’s steered a Modified Sedan himself – and won a National Title.
But for the last two seasons Cam has found a home in the seat of a Sprint Car, and this Easter weekend, in the Chief Racing Number Six machine, out on his home track, in front of his family and friends, it’s evident when chatting to the 27-year-old there is no place he would rather be.
To the Waters family, Mildura’s Powersports weekend is what Easter is all about and both Cam and Jarod are looking forward to the coming days.
“Growing up, that is what Easter was – ski racing and the speedway,” Jarod said.
“It’s what Easter has always been for us … the Bunny turns up too, but that is just a bonus.”
So it’s fair to say that both Cam and Jarod are hoping for another big delivery this weekend besides Easter Eggs, and that it comes in the form of a podium.
Cam, still finding his way in the Sprint Car, is on the verge of a break though, and it could come this weekend at Timmis Speedway.
“It’s been a pretty big challenge, stepping into a Sprint Car, from any other race or speedway car I have ever driven,” Cam said.
“But I’ve started to get a handle on it the last few rounds, which has been cool.
“The last time we raced, which was actually in Mildura, we had a mechanical failure and crashed, which put me out for the night, but it’s awesome to be able to come back to Mildura and race in front of a home crowd.”
When the opportunity presented itself – with a slight nudge from Cam – he jumped at the opportunity to pilot a Sprint Car.
“Sprint Car racing is the pinnacle of speedway,” he said.
“I’ve done the other classes and mastered them so for me, this was the next step.
“I went to a Sprint Car event with one of my personal sponsors and I half got in his ear, he half got in my ear and in the next minute he had bought a car and a trailer.
“It’s literally how it went and I jumped at the opportunity to race Sprint Cars.
“They are a cool race car, unique and very cool when you can master it.”
Cam described his journey in learning the ropes in a Sprint Car as “different”.
“Everything you do in a Sprint Car is the opposite to any other dirt car, so it took a little bit of time to reprogram the brain and learn the little tricks,” he said.
“I probably thought I would have picked it up a little quicker, but at the same time everyone has told me they thought it would take me longer.
“It’s been an interesting journey picking up a new trade, but I have loved every minute of it.”
It’s been well commended and documented how supportive Tickford Racing are of Cam’s endeavors on the dirt track, and while there’s experience and knowledge that benefits him from driving a Supercar in a Sprint Car, he said it also works vice versa.
“It’s good to be racing anything at the end of the day,” he said.
“Seat time is king and challenging yourself to think about situations differently and maximising a car is the same in every car.
“The more you do it, the better you get at it and I think it has helped me be able to adapt to situations quicker in the Supercar and there are things in the Supercar that I do which has helped me in the Sprint Car.
“They compliment each other, even though they are totally different cars.”
Cam said to be able to compete in his home town of Mildura meant a lot to him in different ways.
“Obviously growing up a kid I would go out to Timmis and watch Dad race, that’s probably what made me fall in love with motor racing,” he said.
(It’s at this point Jarod chimed in with a memory of family friend Travis Shore carrying a very young Cam out to the car when he fell asleep before the meeting finished, which was met by laughter from them both, before Cam continued.)
“Now I don’t get the chance much to come home and race with what I do, so to come back to Timmis Speedway, where I used to watch racing as a kid, and to race in front of my family, friends and home crowd is very special,” he finished.
With Cam and Jarod competing tonight and Sunday night, albeit in different classes, the brothers, who are each other’s biggest supporters, will be able to assist each other throughout the event.
“If Cam’s not in the car, I’ll send him up to have a look at the track and come and report back to me,” Jarod laughed.
“I guess I always try and help as much as I can,” Cam said.
“If I go to a race I can tell Jarod what the track has done or tell him where to run (on the track), just things like that.
“I also help a fair bit with setup, so it’s good to be able to give back a bit because he has sacrificed a lot of weekends to take me away.”
Cam described being able to share race nights, like tonight and Sunday night, together with his big brother as “awesome”.
“Growing up I was used to going away with Mum and Dad, and then Jarod would take me away for another weekend,” Cam said.
“It was a family thing growing up and to be able to do that again now, 10 years later is very cool.
“We all love racing and it is great to be able to do it together again.”
While there’s the enjoyment of racing with family and in front of family and friends, Cam’s also looking to get down to business this weekend, with the focus being getting a few race wins.”
“I think each time I have been driving I have been getting better and improving, I’ve won one podium, come second at Moama and I think if we can get on the podium across the two nights this weekend, it would be pretty cool,” he said.
And while Cam plans on setting the pace on track, he won’t be the only Waters brother doing so, with Jarod also in form lately and hoping for a successful weekend.
It’s Jarod’s second season in his Modified Sedan, and although it’s taken a while to get a handle on the car, he’s confident in where the car is now at.
“We’ve been quick every meeting,” Jarod said.
“We’ve won races in every single meeting we have done with the car.
“But it’s taken us this long to get on top of setup and we have finally found the window.
“At the Australian Title (held recently) we rolled out of the trailer and it was pretty quick straight up, because we have been working hard on the setup.
“The car hasn’t been right for the last year and a half but we have still been quick.
“Now though, I think we have made inroads with the setup, so this weekend should be interesting.”
While Jarod’s hoping for a win on the track, he said the Easter weekend locally is also a win for the Mildura Speedway Drivers Club, along with Sunraysia as a whole.
“It’s the biggest meeting for the club for the year,” Jarod said.
“And it brings so many people to the area from everywhere.”
So if you are one those, who might not have come to Mildura for the speedway, but are looking for some action, or you are a local looking for some entertainment, Jarod said Timmis Speedway is where you need to be tonight and Sunday night.
“You’ll be able to witness, close, fast, good racing on one of the best tracks in the country,” he concluded.
“We’ve got the two premier categories in speedway racing in action, the best sedan class and the best open wheel class.”
– ZOEY ANDREWS
Pictured: Brothers Cam and Jarod Waters.