Young gun hopes to be hot on the track in the Top End
SPEEDWAY: Gladstone's Nikolas Keeley will fly the port city flag at the National Junior Sedan Title in Darwin from tomorrow to Saturday at 7Mate Northline Speedway.
The 17-year-old is the only one from Gladstone to take on Darwin's first-ever Aussie title.
Nikolas has been working hard to get his car right in the Northern Exposure tour, which will also include the Junior Sedan NT Title in Katherine the following weekend.
"It's going to be new for me and I haven't done an Australian Title yet so it's just going to be for the experience," he said.
He will drive the only car with a 1.3-litre engine at the titles and his car is touted as the second quickest in Queensland in that classification of engine.
"There will be 59 of us from all across Australia and the best in the state," Nikolas said.
"We're just hoping for good results and good runs and see where we go from there."
There will be 10 others from Queensland in the Top End showdown.
Nikolas and his father Karl Keeley spent the past few weeks on the car to get it into top condition for Darwin and then Katherine.
And plenty of advice has passed from father to son.
"He's been awesome, told me how to race on the track and just his experience from when he used to race," Nikolas said of Karl.
This year will be his final one in the junior category and Nikolas looks to make a smooth transition to senior ranks.
"Hopefully in the coming seasons I'm looking at getting a Modified Lite in the seniors class and it will be awesome to go racing in," he said.
The Territory is not new to him and his family as they were born in Gove.
"In the NT we used to race dirt karts and were looking at getting a car there, but we had to move down here," Nikolas said. So why the name NONG51 on the number plate?
"Nik has a habit of bashing his head on a few things," Karl laughed.
"And he smashed his head on one of the awnings off one of the races buses and Mickey Meehan called him Nong and it stuck. She did the numberplate and does all the artwork and the design stuff for us."
Karl said sponsors Gladstone Printing Services, Wholesale Paint Group, THG Tyres, A1 Racecar Fabrications, Williams Auto Mechanical and Wreckers and Art by Mickey have been massive.
"Also a special thanks to Jason Taranto from Caltex for sponsoring us with some fuel vouchers and Ross from THG Tyres for fuel vouchers also," he said.