PHOTO GALLERY: Young driver's big day out at Yaamba
MOWER RACING: Slade Rawlinson is a young driver going places fast in the sport of mower racing.
The 13-year-old left some far more experienced campaigners in his wake as he raced to victory in D-grade and finished second in the B, C and D-grade all-in in the latest round of the Queensland championships.
Two podium finishes made him the overall points winner, the second time in as many meetings he has taken out that title.
The championships, hosted by the Central Queensland Mower Racing Club at its Yaamba track on Sunday, attracted 31 mowers and 11 dirt karts.
CQMRC members dominated the event, winning five of the six grades. Sean Booy won the outlaw, Tarm Booy big block, Jay Wilkins A-grade, John Kennedy B-grade and Slade D-grade.
It was a good day for the ladies, with Tarm also winning the outlaw and big block all-in, and fellow CQMRC driver Wendy Kennedy taking the honours in the B, C and D-grade all-in.
Slade was in red-hot form on his home track at the weekend, producing consistent performances across the eight heats and dominating the feature.
He started in mower racing just 12 months ago on the urgings of his father Chris and grandfather Wayne, who are both heavily involved in the sport.
Slade is clearly a natural and likes nothing more than getting behind the wheel of his machine.
"It's really good fun. We go pretty fast so I enjoy the speed as well,” he said.
"There's some good people in it and I just love racing.
"Me, dad and pop do all the work on the mower and I like that too.”
Slade said his friends were quite intrigued when he told them he raced mowers but he was happy to explain to them how it all worked.
Dad Chris is also a keen racer, having joined the club with his dad Wayne about five years ago.
"We used to mud race together but got out of that. One day we stopped and had a look at them racing at Yaamba and that was it,” he said.
"We went home and built a mower straight away.
"I'm not racing for sheep stations. Everyone helps everyone to make it a really enjoyable family sport.”
Chris said it was exciting to see Slade embrace mower racing.
"We'll just keep moving him up the ranks and see how he goes. He stepped up a class at the weekend and did pretty well,” he said.
"He's come a long way in a very short time so it's good to see.”
Code: FC = Fraser Coast Club, B = Bundy Turfburners, SC = Sunshine Coast Club, CQ = CQ Mower Racing Club
Outlaw: Sean Booy (CQ) 1, Andy Watson (B) 2, Chris Rawlinson (CQ) 3
Big block: Tarm Booy (CQ) 1, Jeff Wehlow (SC) 2, Dave Andrews (CQ) 3
A-grade: Jay Wilkins (CQ) 1, Anthony Gleadhill 2, Jye Kennedy (CQ) 3
B-grade: John Kennedy (CQ) 1, Randal Creed (SC) 2, Paul Reeves (B) 3
C-grade: Jack Watson (B) 1, William Creed (SC) 2, Allan Heggie (FC) 3
D-grade: Slade Rawlinson (CQ) 1, Shane Wootton (CQ) 2, Wendy Kennedy (CQ) 3
Karts Division 1: Cody Belz (DK) 1, Riley Belz (DK) 2, Jamie Aspinall (DK) 3
Karts Division 2: Darren Nilson 1, Trent Sanderson (DK) 2, Karla Nilson (DK) 3
All-in B, C, D: Wendy Kennedy 1, Slade Rawlinson 2, Jordan Heggie 3
All-in outlaw/big block: Tarm Booy 1, Jeff Wehlow 2, Jay Wilkins 3
All-in race karts: Darren Nilsen 1, Riley Belz 2, Cody Belz 3
Overall points: Slade Rawlinson 1, Sean Booy 2, John Kennedy 3