Mark Blackwood and son Jesse Skinner will be competing at the Winternationals this weekend at Willowbank Raceway.
Mark Blackwood and son Jesse Skinner will be competing at the Winternationals this weekend at Willowbank Raceway. Damian Dunlop

Father and son take on Winternats

MARK Blackwood and Jesse Skinner are a father-son combination united by a common goal - speed.

The Brassall pair, aged 37 and 12 respectively, will indulge their passion this weekend at the Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway.

Blackwood contests the Super Street Car category in his VK Commodore, while Jesse races his junior dragster down the straight.

“I want to be number one qualifier, go through a few rounds and hopefully make it to the finals,” Blackwood said.

If everything goes to plan he may yet better his best ever result, a semi-final appearance at the 1998 Winternationals.

Things have been far from ideal of late with Blackwood having some engine issues before a red light for starting early at Mackay recently.

It was only the work done by Dean Goodingham and his team at Ipswich Muffler and Mechanical Shop that got his car in shape to race.

However, a return to home ground for the Brassall pilot will hopefully have the desired affect.

“The car is ready to go,” Blackwood said. “We tested on Sunday and did 11 seconds.”

In the Super Street category that is the quickest one can cover the quarter mile and not get disqualified.

The rest is all about the reaction time off the green light.

“The car's all right so it is just about the driving now,” Blackwood said.

“If we can get some good lights it should be good.”

For both Blackwood and Jesse, it was family ties that lured them to drag racing.

Blackwood followed his brothers into the sport while Jesse followed Blackwood.

“As soon as he got a taste of it he couldn't help himself,” Blackwood said of Jesse.

Jesse drove a rented car for a while until he could prove to his parents he was serious about the sport, and until they'd saved enough to get him one.

That day arrived not long ago and in his first event in his own car Jesse surprised even his dad.

“He made it through three rounds and took out the number one qualifier,” a proud Blackwood said.

Having celebrated his 12th birthday on Wednesday, Jesse has years of improvement left in him.

Blackwood shows no sign of slowing either.

“I want to go faster,” he said.

“Next year I'm moving up into the Super Sedans with a new engine. Anyone who says they're happy with their time (is kidding).

“You always want to go faster.”

• Qualifying continues today from 8am-8pm.



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