Ipswich’s Darren Kane on his way to third place at the Speedway Grand National in Hobart last Saturday.
Ipswich’s Darren Kane on his way to third place at the Speedway Grand National in Hobart last Saturday. Corey Gibson

Kane in slick shape

NATIONAL Super Sedan series leader Darren Kane has bounced back to front-running form with a third-place finish at last weekend’s annual Grand National in Hobart.

Kane and the Boettcher Racing Team had endured a hectic lead-up to the event following a premature exit from the prestigious Grand Prix at Latrobe, Tasmania, the previous weekend after sustaining engine failure on the opening night.

The team had to then transport a new engine down from its Queensland workshop during the week in readiness for the Grand National.

Kane looked on track to make it three straight Grand Nationals and four in all when he clean swept proceedings on the opening night in his Mazda RX8, with three heat wins from as many starts.

The going was a little tougher for the former Tasmanian native during the second and final night when a sixth and a second place in the remaining two heat races knocked him out of position two for the feature race.

Difficult track conditions caught out a lot of the field during the feature race, causing numerous stoppages and preventing Kane form having a real crack at the leaders.

It was so bad the feature race was called off with just 40 of the 50 laps completed due to a track curfew, with Kane running third.

Given it was the first time he’d run his new engine in the car, it was an exceptional performance from Kane and augers well for the upcoming Australian Championship and remaining two rounds of the national series.

“It was a tough feature race and although we didn’t quite have the set-up, we were able to remain up the front of the field,” Kane explained.

“With the way my car was set up, I was really relying on momentum and the countless amount of stoppages certainly didn’t help that one bit and third place was where I ended up.

“It was disappointing that we weren’t able to get those final 10 laps in as it would’ve made for a quite interesting finish.”

The focus for Kane and the Boettcher Racing Team now is this weekend’s Australian Championship at Latrobe.

It’s an event he’s won twice and is determined to do again.

“Unlike the Grand Prix and the Grand National events, we won’t be flying back to Queensland for work and that’s going to help us prepare better for the weekend ahead,” Kane said.

“To be honest, our preparation has suffered flying back and forth over the past fortnight.

“But since we won’t be flying back to the mainland, we’re going to be in good shape for this weekend’s racing as all we’ll be focused on is our race program.”

This year’s Australian Championship consists of today’s practice session followed by racing on Friday and Saturday nights.



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