WATCH: Drivers to rev up in Rocky at Junior Sedan Qld Title
MOTORSPORT: Fifteen-year-old Jackson Thomas is literally fast-tracking in his development as a racing driver.
And in Saturday night's Junior Sedan Queensland Title, Jackson will be among 30-plus youngsters who will tackle the best from southern and central Queensland at the McCoskers Rockhampton Showground Speedway track in Rockhampton.
Thomas will join fellow Gladstone drivers Abi Meahan, Nikolas Keeley, Dakota Laverty, Joel Curd and Zac Maxwell who will also compete at the titles.
"I'm a third generation in racing and my parents have been racing for several years and it kind of passed down through the generations," Jackson said.
"It's my fifth month of racing and am really nervous."
But the nerves is mainly before competition and Jackson said adrenalin takes over.
"When you are in the grid draw about to go on the track, you're real nervous, but once you're on the track, the fear's gone," he said.
Kackson will race in his Hyundai Excel 99 and obviously his aim is to not crash on Saturday night and the rest will be a bonus.
Abi Meehan is in her final year as a junior driver and is the dace of women in motorsport in the region.
The first-year mechatronic engineering student will enter her fourth season in the sport and is also somewhat of a mentor for those who will compete for the first time.
"I enjoy trying to help the younger kids and encourage them to be the best they can and show them that you don't have to be good when you start out," she said.
"You can work your way up and just feel comfortable and be comfortable in what you're doing."
As far as next season is concerned, the 17-year-old, hopes to transition into senior ranks.
"I'm not sure where I'm going yet and hoping into some sort of Sedan class, maybe Modified Sedans, but we'll have to go and wait and see," she said.
The best advice she will offer youngsters such as Jackson is to basically take it is at comes.
"Anything can happen and you can go out there and win your heat or lose a heat," she said.
"It's all experience to gain momentum, work it out and go from there."
Speedway enthusiast Neil Smith said a newly-built track at the Benaraby Motorsport Complex will go a long way toward getting promising young drivers' names out there.
And rather than relying on competing elsewhere, Smith hopes funding will kick-start the sport in Gladstone.
"There are lots of people who want to get involved in junior speedway and we want to get it out there," he said.
With the older drivers such as Abi and Joel to move to senior ranks, Smith is keen to see new juniors to take their place.
And this would be more encouraged if a new home track is constructed in Benaraby.