Rising speedster to continue Leahy tradition in Forever Young
THE 20-year-old grandson of the late Roly Leahy will fulfil a long-held dream for his grandfather this weekend at Willowbank Raceway.
Leahy is competing in Roly's "Forever Young" Front-Engined Dragster as part of tomorrow's Nostalgia Drags event.
"Forever Young" and its late owner are legends of Australia's drag racing scene.
While Roly may be sorely missed, he will never be forgotten thanks to the efforts of his sons Greg and Peter Leahy.
Along with the rest of the Leahy family, the brothers have been journeying to the United States each October since their father's passing in attempts to achieve their father's dream of going 200 miles per hour (about 321kmh) at California's Famoso Raceway, where Roly raced in 2007 and 2008.
In 2013, they achieved this with Greg at the wheel and Roly's ashes on-board, signalling that it was time to bring the dragster home so that Josh - son of Greg and the oldest of the Leahy grandchildren - could take the reins as Roly had always wanted.
"In the four years of pursuing the 200, there was a lot of chaos, some crashes and even the death of our close friend and crew member Mick Atholwood," Greg Leahy said. "But in 2013 we finally managed to go 200.8mph in honour of dad and also Mick in what we all still refer to as grandpa's race car.
"Nobody owns it. It is his and we are just the guardians of it.
"He had always said that Josh would drive the dragster one day, so when he passed away, we asked ANDRA to put his licence number on hold and now that number has been handed to Josh ready for this weekend.
"It is good to have the dragster home with us now, and it is very special to know now that my son Josh will be driving it in his grandpa's honour.
"I don't think there is going to be a dry eye in the house the first time he goes down the track with his grandpa's ashes sitting above his head in its little urn behind the roll cage."
Josh Leahy is driver of the Nitro Sherriff Wheelstander in the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Series..
"I am really excited, I can't wait to do this for grandpa," said Josh, an accountant living in Canberra.
"I am a bit nervous but I am sure I will be okay once it comes time to sit in the car, although I think it will be a case of mixed emotions.
"I know my grandpa always wanted me to drive his car so it is going to be a very special moment but will also be quite sad as well.
"There is a little bit of pressure given how much this means to everyone, but I will just be going at my own pace and learning the car on-track."
- Tomorrow at Willowbank Raceway.
- More than 140 racers across the Top Eliminator, Quick Eliminator, Gas, Hot Rod, Vintage Gas, US Muscle, Aussie Muscle, Retro Bikes and Nostalgia Super Stock categories.
- Qualifying from 9am and racing from 1pm.
- Spectator tickets are available at the gate.