Ipswich racer reaches top of tree in Sydney
BEING a Willowbank Raceway track official gives Ipswich racer Phil White some handy inside knowledge.
However, it was more his enthusiasm and improved fitness that provided the best win of his drag racing career.
The Chuwar-based rider has just returned from Sydney where he won the modified bike section at Eastern Creek, bringing home the coveted Gold Christmas Tree trophy.
His consistent efforts over the weekend completed a memorable outing after launching his first full season of modified bike racing in 2012.
"Winning the Christmas Tree would have to be the biggest thing I've done so far,'' White said.
"That's pretty much my pinnacle really, apart from winning the nationals of course.
"The bike ran on song, ran good numbers, ran all around its dial-in. I got some good lights and a bit of luck I guess ran my way.''
The Christmas Tree trophy is for winning the class overall on the day, which featured five rounds of racing and a final.
It was the second time White had raced at Eastern Creek on his Kawasaki ZX14 bike, having enjoyed regular podium finishes without breaking through for a win in the national series.
Victory in Sydney provided the perfect start to a new season for the self-funded racing enthusiast.
He is leading the Australian championship.
However, his latest performance came after putting in the extra yards off the track.
White, 44, has lost more than 40kg in recent months to be competing at a healthier 80-90kg weight.
"I've worked on fitness over the last few years,'' he said.
"I'm second in Queensland at the minute too so this year has come together pretty good. I'm only like four points behind the leader in Queensland.
"In the last year I've just committed to eating right and got a pretty fit gym plan.
"I've dropped 42kg in the last eight months, just getting my head in the right space. It's just more of a mental thing.''
His next major mission is the second round of the summer series at Warwick later this month. He can also contest the finals of the Queensland Drag Racing Championships before that.
Without the funding to race in Perth or Melbourne, White is hoping to accrue enough points to be in a strong position heading into next year's series-ending championships at his home Willowbank track.
He's been a Willowbank Raceway track official for 12 years.
"It's just grown from that,'' White said of his passion for bike racing.
"I've always liked fast cars or fast bikes.
"It's my bike. I own it. I work on the bike myself, just me and friends and family has been helping me track around the coast.''
Look out for more motorsport news and key events in tomorrow's weekly Petrol Power column.