from-mini-sprints-to-f500-and-backBass driver Owen Milton has had a busy New Year period – racing in the Mini Sprint at Bairnsdale and Formula 500. Photo by Inaction Photos.

By Dean Thompson

OWEN Milton Racing’s Christmas was packed with family, fun and racing this season and unlike past seasons where it normally involved a couple nights of Mini Sprint racing, this year it included a week of Formula 500 racing also.
The Christmas week of racing began at Bairnsdale Speedway for round two of the Gold Cup series for Mini Sprints for the first of eight nights racing.
After a recent rollover at Drouin Speedway of the Victoria # 1 car, Bass-based Milton was keen to get back behind the wheel and get some confidence before speed week for the F500s began.
Milton took the feature win by more than half a lap ahead of Sydney racer Shane Cooper before heading home for a little rest.
From three and a half hours east of Melbourne the team drove back from Bairnsdale to Bass and hit the sack for a quick snooze before waking up at 7am for a seven and a half hour drive to Mount Gambier for Round 1 of speed week.
Upon arriving at Mount Gambier Milton had to meet his Formula 500 car owner Glenn Underwood from Queensland who was also competing in speed week, both would be driving a Pace Chassis machine.
Milton was fitted and familiarized himself with the set up of a 500 before starting all his heats at the rear of the field before having a great run in his second heat coming from 17th to sixth place in the second heat and then finishing seventh in the B Main just missing an A Main transfer spot in his first go of a 500 in a field of 50 plus cars.
The next night it was over to Western Speedway in Hamilton where an engine was blown in the B Main whilst running in ninth place.
Weather then resulted in cancellation of a round at Warrnambool’s Sungold Stadium before a weather affected track at Lang Lang the next night was called a no show due to track conditions.
Finally some more racing with round 5 at Mid Western Speedway in Darlington, however the chain came off in the team’s first heat leaving Milton aware he was in for a tough race to the A Main later after finishing second in his second heat.
Starting from position nine Milton managed a fifth place and started in an A Main feature for the first time.
A 12th place result was more than Milton had imagined and the team was rapt with the result.
A pole position start in the B Main at Simpson Speedway the next night should have been a second transfer to an A Main however on cold tyres and a slick track Milton muffed it in turn three and ended up sent to the rear of the field.
Finally speed week was to come to an end with a return to Warrnambool for the final round.
Milton was looking for another A Main start and that’s what he finished with after qualifying from 14th on the grid.
Rain persisted to play havoc with organisers and racers at Sungold Stadium and with 5mm of rain being dumped over the track before the final Milton made some changes to the car hoping for a slippery race track.
However it turned out to be the complete opposite with Milton slipping back one place whilst still standing on the gas full throttle for 30 laps straight.
Overall from 60 race entrants across the five race nights that were completed Milton finished 18th from 60 competitors in his first ever speed week.
“I could not be happier with how we finished, stepping into a class I knew nothing about and doing as well as we did with the basic equipment we had shows promise for the future,” Milton said.
“I’m so thankful to Glenn Underwood for the race car and transporting the two-car team all the way from Cairns and around the tracks, along with the maintenance work on the cars.”
Milton now jumps back in the Victoria # 1 Mini Sprint at Rosedale Speedway on January 18 for the third round of the Gold Cup series having won Round 1 and 2 so far.