SPEEDWAY: After 12 years in the speedway wilderness, Gunnedah driver Dave Partridge is back in the driver’s seat and relishing every minute.
“I love the sport, the family-orientated aspect to it and everything around it,” he said.
A life member of Gunnedah Speedway, Dave has been racing speedway cars since the late 1980s.
His immediate family members are also avid speedway drivers including son, Justin.
“We raced together in the early days when he was stepping up from the junior class into the seniors,” Dave said.
“We had a season together and it was really good.”
After more than a decade off the competition circuit, the Gunnedah Times enquired if it was now a case of ‘son teaching dad how to race?’
“Oh no, I can still show him something … at least I think I can,” Dave laughed.
“But it’s a little bit different now – he has a modified car, we both race the same division and he has a lot more money spent on his cars.
“He’s very competitive and travels everywhere.”
Dave’s return to the racing scene was sparked by the opportunity to drive Justin’s car the season before last.
“I think that’s what did it,” he said.
“I had two firsts and two seconds the night I drove his car.”
The first season back racing has also had its challenges.
Dave was competing in the NSW four-cylinders at Dubbo in June when his car was clipped mid-race.
“I was running pretty good all night,” he said.
“I was in third place on my last lap when I was tapped on the inside.
“That flipped me over six times and I landed on my roof – it destroyed the car.”
The veteran Gunnedah driver escaped with only minor injuries but many workshop hours spent fine-tuning the car was lost.
“I had a few bruises but I was ok,” he said.
“It took me 12 months to set up that car just right and it was all over in one race.”
A few weeks later Dave was back behind the wheel – this time at Tamworth Speedway courtesy of Gunnedah’s Cobb’s Exhaust & 4×4 Centre.
The Cobb Racing team supplied Dave with a car to compete in the Fender Benders, and if not for a blown tyre in the feature race, he could have claimed top honours.
His efforts were enough, however, to claim a fourth and two second-place finishes in the heats.
“I lost the first one by only a few inches,” Dave said.
With another car already being modified in preparation for next season’s speedway season, Justin was also enjoying having dad back racing again, even if he was a little slower.
“It’s good but would be better if he could keep up,” Justin grinned.