Willowbank News and Media
KATE HARKER LOOKS TO CHANNEL FATHER’S WORLD-FIRST SUCCESS FOR QDRC VICTORY THIS WEEKEND
Article Date: 7 October 2014
Kate Harker will be nothing short of inspired when she takes to Willowbank Raceway this weekend for the penultimate round of the Queensland Drag Racing Championship (QDRC), following a breakthrough championship victory by her father in the United States at the weekend.
Steve Harker became the first ever ‘international’ racer to win the NHRA Top Alcohol championship, and also clinched two event wins in the one weekend on his way to doing so while setting records for low elapsed time and top speed in the process.
Now, his thirty-one year old daughter – a former NHRA Top Alcohol racer who was the first non-American female to win an NHRA event and is the currently the quickest female in NHRA Top Alcohol dragster (5.22 seconds at Chicago, Illinois in 2007) – will look to use his inspiring victory to fuel her own competitive fire in the Donnelly Blasting Services QDRC Outlaws bracket this weekend.
“My partner Daniel and I were up early all weekend listening to the NHRA live audio and it was such an exhilarating feeling to hear Dad competing and taking those wins – I am so proud of the achievements of both my mum and my dad, they have worked incredibly hard to achieve this result and to do it with back-to-back event wins in the one weekend and set the ET and speed records is just stunning,” said Harker, a marketing coordinator from Raceview (Ipswich).
“For me going into the QDRC this weekend I will be carrying this momentum and excitement with me to the start line on Saturday, along with all the lessons I have learnt from my parents over my 18 years of competing in drag racing!”
Three years ago, Harker made the decision to move back to Australia after many years on the American NHRA circuit and has since established her own team – making her Australian comeback at this year’s FUCHS Winternationals in June in the Kenda Tires Funny Car.
“Willowbank has always been our home track even when we have lived in the USA, and coming home to race again was always a goal of mine, so I am really happy to have that chance,” said Harker, who is supported on-track by Kenda Tires, Speed City Performance, Bridgestone Select Coppers Plains, Lucas Oil and NGK.
“It has certainly been a journey since our debut at the Winternationals. I have to thank my partner Daniel Rice – we make a great team and I couldn’t run this car successfully without him, it has been a steep learning curve for both of us to learn to run the car together as we have previously always worked under the guidance of people like my parents, and we are very thankful for their ongoing support and dedication to our program, as well as that of Daniel’s parents Jeff and Davina Rice and our crew Myles Johnson and Adrian Hudson, without all of their efforts and dedication this just wouldn’t be possible.
“Our team may be relatively new but everyone is pumped and so keen to race – we plan to attend as many QDRC events this year as we can ahead of a full tilt at next year’s QDRC title.
“I realised at the Winternationals that it has been ten years since I competed in bracket racing, and I am also getting used to racing a Funny Car after my entire prior racing career was in a dragster - so I know after a few more competition events like this we will be in a great position to make a real run at the title next year.”
Harker and her fellow Donnelly Blasting Services QDRC Outlaws competitors will be joined on-track at Willowbank Raceway this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2014 QDRC by more than 130 racers across the QDRC SuperComp, QDRC Competition Bike, Knijff Earthmoving Modified, Powercruise Super Sedan, Prime Signs/Speed Elec Super Street, Modified Bike, Junior Dragster and Super Gas brackets.
Gates will open at 9.00am this Saturday, with qualifying from 12.00pm and racing from 5.00pm. Entries are open via the Willowbank Raceway website until 5.00pm AEST Wednesday 8 October. For full event information or to enter, please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au
This weekend’s QDRC action comes hot on the heels of the latest round of the Street Series, held on Saturday 4 October. As the penultimate round of the Street Series championship, Saturday’s events found not only round winners but also the ‘top eight’ for Street Sedan, Street Bike and Powder Puff – with those 24 racers now set to battle it out for Street Series glory on Wednesday October 22 (Powder Puff) and Saturday October 25 (Street Bike and Powder Puff).
Taking the round victory were Murray Scells (Quick Eliminator), Gerard Horne (Hot Street), Brett Paige (Street Eliminator), Rhonda Larfield (Powder Puff) and Craig Banks (Street Bike).
Securing their place in the final eight for Street Sedan were Josh Fletcher, Ray Ross, Brett Paige, Russell Sticklen, Gerard Horne, Richard Maddern, Bruce Casos and Gordon Larfield.
In Street Bike, Paul Astridge, Denis Ryan, Stuart Macmillan, Craig Banks, Ken Rice, Michael Beaton, Peter Harper and Wendy Whatley will battle it out for the Series win; while in Powder Puff it will all come down to Rhonda Larfield, Susanne Fletcher, Jody Wentworth, Belinda Brockhurst, Tammy Goldthorpe, Deb Mackay, Carol Rauchle and Nikki Horne. For more information on the Street Series, please click here.
Willowbank Raceway is Queensland’s premier drag racing facility, located 45 minutes from Brisbane or just a short drive from Ipswich, offering a year-round program of events for the entire family. For more information including a full event calendar, please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au
EVENT INFORMATION: QUEESLAND DRAG RACING CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND FOUR: 11 OCTOBER 2014
Racing from QDRC SuperComp, QDRC Comp Bike, Donnelly Blasting Services QDRC Outlaws, Knijff Earthmoving Modified, Powercruise Super Sedan, Prime Signs/Speed Elec Super Street, Modified Bike, Junior Dragster and Super Gas.
· Gates open 9.00am
· Qualifying from 12.00pm to 5.00pm
· Racing from 5.00pm
· Please note times are subject to change dependent on number of entries.
· Adults - $20.00
· Students with ID -$18.00
· Children 13 and under gain free entry
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