Former American Series champion Gary Tomkins will race at Lismore Speedway.
Former American Series champion Gary Tomkins will race at Lismore Speedway. Tony Powell

Tomkins leading the V8 Dirt Modified charge

AMERICAN V8 Dirt Modified star Gary Tomkins knows what to expect when he competes at Lismore Speedway this coming Saturday night.

This is Tomkins’ second visit to Australia after having competed in three V8 Dirt Modified events on the east coast in late 2007.

Tomkins, whose latest campaign comprises a short two-meeting schedule, will drive a car built and prepared by Toowoomba businessman Ray Klarich.

It is the same machine that Tomkins raced in the US in 2007 before it was shipped to Australia under Klarich’s ownership.

Tomkins also will compete at Toowoomba’s Charlton Raceway following the completion of his Lismore commitment.

He is well aware of the high standard of competition among the local V8 Dirt Modified ranks and acknowledged he is in for a tough time at Lismore this weekend.

“It’s a lot of fun racing in Australia but this time its going to be an eyes-wide-open deal. I kinda know what to expect so I am definitely looking forward to the challenge,” Tomkins said yesterday.

Based in Clifton Springs in upper-New York State, Tomkins is one of the leading V8 Dirt Modified drivers in the US, having finished fourth in last year’s American Series, taking in some 50 races between March and October.

A veteran V8 Dirt Modified competitor, Tomkins was American Series Champion in 2004.

He scored seven feature wins in the US during 2008 including successive Series wins in Cornwall and Can-Am tournaments.

“The Series didn’t start off the way we hoped it would,” Tomkins recounted.

“We were a pretty decent top 10 car, but we weren’t very much better than that until the Brewerton Series race midway through the season where we brought out a new car. After that we didn’t finish outside of the top five except for the last race at Middletown where we had a flat tyre.”

Meanwhile, Klarich is delighted to have Tomkins back behind the wheel of his car.

“Everything is ready to go,” Klarich said this week.

“Gary won a race up in Maryborough last time he was here against guys like National Champion Tim Morse, Luke Oldfield and Mark Robinson so the guy is no slouch behind the wheel.

“The tracks out here are a little smaller than he is used to but he races a few times a week in America so coming to a new track won’t be any disadvantage.”

Speedcars, Modified Productions, Street Stocks, Four Cylinder Sedans and Junior Sedans also will be featured on the big variety program.

Promoter David Lander continues his family entertainment theme at the venue and will admit all children 12 and under free of charge when accompanied by an adult.

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