Keleher's driven to be the best
SPEEDWAY SOLOS: Zane Keleher's dedication to sport is the stuff of legend.
The Rockhampton rider, a former motocross star who switched to 500cc solos two years ago, entered Fitzroy River folklore after his exploits in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
He was so determined to ride at Maryborough Speedway the flooded Fitzroy, which was swollen courtesy of the deluge, he used a tinny to transport bikes from his Alton Downs property, across the river, then embarked on the long drive to the track.
While the circumstances are slightly different this time - there's no cyclone or flooded river to deal with - Keleher's killer competitive instinct is unchanged.
He will be part of a packed field desperate to prepare their bikes ahead of the Queensland titles, which will also be held at Maryborough Speedway, on December 9.
"It will be a different day in three weeks' time but it's good to get as much preparation as we can,” Keleher said.
"I've had a few trips to Maryborough this year, just aiming for good results.”
Keleher will ride with the likes of Jesse Thompson, Jayden Goodsall and Joel Coyne. What awaits competitors is a track primarily designed for and used by vehicles with four wheels, but appreciated - and praised - by riders.
"It's more of a clay-based track and there's more banking on the corners,” Keleher said. "It's good as it's a challenge to riders. Not all flat track riders are good (on this style of track), so it makes the competition a lot more open. There's definitely more speed.”
Keleher enters the support solos race on the back of several good results.
The Z22 rider recorded wins at Tamworth, Ipswich and Cairns, and experienced a good run at the JTR Teams Challenge in September.
He hopes a successful run on Saturday night is a launching pad to greater success and competition.
When he gave up a 15-year motocross career, of which he rode at a national level for five years, for the speedway, he had to forget almost everything he knew.
The bikes, the style of riding, the competition - it was all different.
"It was a completely different ball game,” he said.
There was one major thing that didn't change: his desire to be the best.
"I did all I wanted to do in motocross, and it was harder and harder to compete as a privateer,” Keleher said.
"I wanted a new challenge.
"(Winning) is always the plan. In the bigger scheme, we want top results at state to qualify for nationals, and see where we go from there.
"I definitely want to compete internationally, but we need to get the results at national level first.”