Need for speed drives Herne family
SPEEDING around a racetrack at 100kmh just inches from the ground can become addictive, and sometimes whole families succumb.
And if you're one of the Hernes of Wyrallah, a family in which all four children race go-karts, you're likely to be skilled enough to consistently cross the finish line among the first three in events around northern NSW and southern Queensland.
As a reward for such consistent performance, you'd qualify to join a handful of other midgets and rookies to spend a day with your V8 Supercar heroes, and have a burn around the Sandown track in your kart.
That's the story of midget Nathan Herne, 9, and his elder sister, rookie Natasha, 12, who have both been selected for the glamorous prize in Melbourne next month.
Nathan has won the last three meetings in which he has raced and reckons it's "aggressiveness" that gets a driver over the line first. His sister, who has a similar record of success, says it's "confidence in yourself".
Whatever you call it, it's a quality that runs in the family. Dad Stuart began as a karter before racing speedway for 25 years, and older siblings Bianca, 18, and Joshua, 19, are also accomplished karters.
It's family pride that partly drives Natasha - she wants to graduate to V8 racing because "it would be following in Dad's footsteps".
Just for now, she gets a big kick out of beating the boys.
The two youngest Hernes - who once competed against each other as midgets - will be among 18 children who will breakfast with their V8 Supercar heroes, have a pit tour of the garage and get a three-day pass for the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge.