Qld's best driver refines car for more success
WHEN you're the Queensland champion chasing a third consecutive title, the temptation could easily be to take the foot off the proverbial pedal.
Not Ipswich motorsport ace Mat Pascoe.
After a commanding series of performances in the 2017/18 speedway season, Pascoe is preparing to defend his Queensland title this weekend with a new "refined'' car.
The Mutdapilly-based Sweet Chassis car builder and race driver spent time away from the track planning a new competitive approach while working on the cars of his customers.
"The car is almost ready,'' Pascoe said, excited about the latest super sedan series that runs until June.
"The off-season has been pretty hectic.''
He's keen to successfully defend his state title at Bundaberg this weekend, having already secured a win and second placing in early season speedway events at Toowoomba and Maryborough.
"We've started off good this season,'' he said, having won the past two Queensland titles and three overall.
"We just refined what we used to have. We've tried to make it better and we think we have.
"Moving things around to make the percentages better.
"Hopefully we can continue with the new car and so far it's going good.''
Last season, Pascoe had 15 wins, four seconds and only three non-finishes in races around Queensland and interstate.
Assisted by his back-up crew including brothers Ty and Wade, Mat was crowned Queensland's best driver.
Mat was inspired to victory by his unwell father Graham at last year's Queensland championship round in Gympie.
Sadly, Graham passed away two months later.
Having contested the speedway circuit for nine years, Mat has added motivation this season with sons Zac, 16, and Brad, 14, also racing in junior sedan categories.
The proud father sets a terrific example, going about his racing without fuss and fanfare.
His new engine and dyno in his car was built on site at his Sweet Chassis headquarters, near Willowbank.
After a round one washout at Archerfield Speedway, Pascoe appreciated some extra time to get ready for his next event in Toowoomba on October 20.
That's where he finished second in the 40 lap feature final, starting from position seven on the grid.
He managed to secure to the lead, racing competitively after an early mishap.
One of the other Sweet Chassis cars he built finished third in Toowoomba ahead of another regional achiever Darren Kane, in fourth.
At the same meeting, Mat's sons Zac and Brad raced in the Junior Sedans.
Zac broke the lap record with a sizzling time of 17.1 seconds in a heat.
Both made the final where Brad finished third.
Zac crashed out when attempting to find the lead in the middle part of the race.
In the next Queensland series event in Maryborough, all three Pascoe drivers competed on the tight circuit.
Mat started from pole position in the final and was never headed in the 30 lap feature race.
Kane finished second in a closely run race.
With 16 cars starting in the final, Mat was able to lap 10 of his competitors.
"I just feel I'm driving better too,'' the experienced racer said. "It's not just the car. I'm driving smarter.''
Although Zac and Brad made their Junior Sedan final, they didn't handle the track in only their second season of racing. Zac finished seventh and Brad was ninth.
Casey O'Connell, racing a Sweet Chassis built car, won the Junior sedan event, providing more satisfaction for Mat.
After this weekend's Queensland titles defence in Bundaberg, Mat is planning to race in Rockhampton and Kingaroy as part of a state series, before heading south for the one-off Victorian and NSW titles.
Zac and Brad will also compete regularly in junior events.