SPEEDWAY driver Martin Hawson could be described as the ‘Clark Kent’ of the race track given his day job, which sees him performing the mild mannered role of CEO with Mildura Rural City Council.
Come the weekend, off comes the business suit which is replaced with a racing car driver’s suit as Hawson heads for the speedway track, where he can let of some steam and release some of the stress of his busy week at work.
“Well, I don’t think there’s too many local government CEOs racing Speedway,” he said.
“It’s a totally different setting and getting that balance between racing and your day job, is really important.
“And a lot of it is also related to the fact that you’ve got really good friends and people you associate with not just in Mildura, but right across the country, which I really enjoy.
“You’re racing in a lot of different places and get to know people all around Australia.
“That’s all part of it and you’ve got to have that recreational time and break away from work and this provides a really good break from that.”
After his recent win in a South Australian Speedway Title in Waikerie, the Weekly spoke to Hawson about his love of car racing and was asked how he became involved in motor sport.
“My dad was pretty keen and into speedway,” Hawson said.
“Throughout the 70s and 80s, he had a lot to do with the speedway club and I just grew up with it basically.
“And so I saw a lot of drag racing here.”
Hawson races a fuel injected, V6, VY Commodore.
“I race in a class they call Modified Sedans,” he said.
“The engine is pretty well modified.
“Basically, it’s just got to look visually standard, but apart from that you can pretty much do as much work on the engine as you like.
“It’s got a custom exhaust and runs a MoTeC computer and so it’s all computerized and it’s probably one of the most competitive classes in Australia in Speedway.
“We’ve got a lot of really good drivers locally and so it’s a pretty competitive class.
“We race on dirt tracks and Timmis Speedway is probably one of the better tracks we race on.
“The race I won was in Waikerie in South Australia, and that’s a clay track.
“It’s a bit smaller than Mildura but it’s a pretty good track.
Hawson said his win in Waikerie two weeks ago wasn’t the first time he’d been on the winner’s podium over there.
“We had a pretty good run through the heats,” he said.
“We got two seconds and a third and fellow Mildura driver Dave Smith had two wins and so he had a pretty good run as well.”
Smith blew an engine in the last heat which put his car out for the rest of the night.
Demonstrating the comradery between drivers, Mildura father and son Travis and Will Shore allowed Smith to drive their car for the final, but it did mean that Smith had to start rear of field.
Hawson said had Smith not encountered engine trouble, and been able to compete in his own car for the final from his earned final position, he would have been the one to beat.
“We started on the outside pole in the final and we got the jump at the start and we’re able to lead the race for the 30 laps,” Hawson said.
“It was a flag to flag race and so there were no stoppage.
“So that was good.
“We had a pretty good run through the ‘traffic’ in the final and ended up taking the Title.”
Fellow Mildura racers Wade McCarthy and Ty Galley finished third and fourth respectively, while Smith drove all the way from the back of the field to fifth.
Hawson said he has had seven or eight podium finishes in South Australian Titles in the past.
“I have had a reasonably good run in the South Australian Titles, but titles are really hard to win,” he added.
“And they’re hard to place in, because the class is pretty competitive – it is pretty hard to win titles.
“As it eventuated things fell into place and we had a good run through the heats and the final planned out pretty well.
“It is a very much a team sport, and you get a lot of help from lot of people and of course our sponsors who make it all possible.
“You usually win the races in the shed before you get to the meeting.
“So, there’s a lot of preparation, making sure the car’s right to perform on the night.”