Gunnedah’s Dan Wicks has ticked off a major career milestone with a long-awaited Australian title win.
Fresh off that victory, he is already gunning for more.
Firm in his sights is a win on home soil when Gunnedah hosts the Australian Flat Track Nationals on November 11-12.
Wicks recently placed first in the MX Open race division at the Australian Senior Dirt Track Championships in Albury.
It was an achievement that had been a long time coming for the new national champion after collecting minor placings on six occasions across two race divisions at recent meets.
“I’ve always been second and third, so it was a bit different to get the chequered flag and do the victory lap,” Wicks said.
The Gunnedah rider rode strongly in four heats for the MX Open at Albury and was confident heading into the final.
“I got a really good jump and led the first lap,” he said. “When I looked back the rest [of the riders] were 20 metres behind.
“Going into the last lap I knew I had to hang on for one more and it paid off.
“I finally got the breakthrough for the win.”
The victory almost overshadowed an admirable third place he also claimed in the Pro 450 division at the national championship.
Ever modest, Wicks said for this type of racing, also known as ‘dirt track’, much of the result came down to luck as riders had just a few laps in the final to win the coveted title.
“This is top of the ranks for Australian motorcycling,” he said.
“These are 450s, heavily worked machines and we’re getting the most out of them to win Australian titles.
“Anyone in the top 12 final is capable of winning, it’s just the luck that’s made on that first turn, first lap.”
Although many of the motorcycling wins have evaded him, Wicks has been billy boiling and whipcracking his way to top of the national standings in other disciplines.
In this year alone, the Gunnedah competitor won the NSW Billy Boiling Championship title, the Australian Billy Boiling title in a new Australian record of 5.07 minutes and the World Billy Boiling Championship in Boonah, Queensland.
Wicks, who hails from a proud whipcracking family, also won the World Bullock Whip title at the Brisbane Ekka, Australian Bullock Whip title at Boonah and placed second in men’s Australian title.
Back on a bike of another kind, Wicks has enjoyed good success racing postie bikes, and placed first in the 2022 Postie Grand Prix at Cessnock. He is hoping to repeat this at the weekend.
His attention now turns to Australia’s version of the American-styled, flat track championship.
The racing features bikes with big 19-inch wheels with riders battling out it over a six-round series held at tracks across the country.
Gunnedah is due to host the final two rounds of racing this month and for Wicks, there is much on the line.
The experienced campaigner is ranked second on the overall Australian flat track points tally – just 48 points behind competition leader and seasoned professional, Mick Kirkness.
After finishing within reach of the top podium position last year, Wicks has the chance to overtake Kirkness before his home crowd and win the championship.
“If luck goes my way, I could close that gap pretty quickly in one race,” he said.
Having spent much of his childhood and adult life around competitive racing, Wicks is also now busy with a family of his own.
Partner Adele, as well as children Macey, 3, and Robbie, 2, are among his biggest supporters.
Family is everything for Wicks who said it was the chance to ‘keep the young riders honest’ that had him returning each season.
“Sometimes the young fellas boil over in the final but if they jag a start, they’re gone, cheque’d out,” he said.
Wicks also had some parting advice for those looking to make their own mark in the sport.
“Bike set up is one you have to experiment with, get to know the bike so you can make it quicker,” he said.
“Bike fitness is important too – it might only be four laps but you potentially need to give 110 per cent.
“And keep doing your practice and clubs days, treat them as a learning curve and try different things.”To order photos from this page click here