Roberts to line up against some of the best in the business
DIRT MODS: There is nothing Phil Roberts wants more than to salute his home crowd as winner of the 10th anniversary of the King of the Ring.
The 48-year-old is among the small, quality V8 Dirt Modifieds field, and can be considered a favourite due his close association with the track.
"We're new to the sport. We have raced only a few meetings each season because of work commitments and we haven't had the time but this year, we're going to have a full belt at it,” Roberts said. "The boys have finished midfield before.
"It's the 10th anniversary of the King of the Ring so it should be a good meeting.
"We're a bit down on numbers because we're running against the big track in Parramatta but the quality of the field is pretty good.
"There's a few ex-Australian champions in there.”
Roberts said he and his team had changed the set-up of the car to suit the new track surface, which has already led to several new records being created in multiple classes.
"We will be changing a lot this season because of the new surface, we've gone from granite to a clay surface,” he said.
"The car was completely different, it reacted different, so we hope to turn it around and suit the new surface.
"It's easier on tyres which makes it a bit cheaper as well. If you're hard on the accelerator and wear the tyres out you can buzz one or two tyres a night, but if you drive sensibly you can get through on one set.”
Roberts said he would be keeping a close eye on V8 Dirt Modifieds newcomer Klinton Hancey, who holds every state and national title available, and speedster Geoff Phillips.
"Klinton is new to the V8s but he's just won the Victorian modlite title, Geoff Phillips is always quick, Terry Leerentveld is an ex-Australian modlites champion,” Roberts said.
He said he expected more drivers to join the ranks.
"The division has been around for a while but we're growing in numbers again,” he said. "Popularity is rising with the class because of the quality seen at the last few meetings.
"We had 20 cars at Toowoomba, 17-18 finished the feature and it was fast. There was some really good racing, a bit of movement in the field - it was good to watch.”