SPEEDWAY: Berkley reigns as king of Production Sedans
SPEEDWAY: JOEL Berkley has made history for the Maryborough Speedway.
The 19-year-old racer sped his way to victory at the MIXXFM National Production Sedan Title at the Western Speedway in Hamilton on Monday, claiming the title for the Heritage City's race track.
It marks the first time in history a Maryborough driver has held a National Production Sedan Title and a first for the Fraser Coast's premiere Speedway.
The win didn't come easily to the young driver, who had to contend with a range of experienced racers including former title holder Ben Barker and Hamilton racer Dehne Sparrow.
Numerous position changes defined the first four laps before Barker spun out to the rear of the field.
Berkley led the next 11 laps as Sparrow continued to climb to fourth position, before taking second.
Sparrow eventually took the lead on lap 15, followed by Berkley and Gladstone's Richard Cook, Collie's Beau Riley and New South Wales' Justin Hawkins.
After Dubbo racer Matt Hutchinson spun on the second turn, Berkley regained the lead and managed to drive away to a win.
The win means Berkley is the second youngest competitor to win the title, behind Corowa-born Jacob Mills in 2017.
Maryborough Speedway president Wayne Moller said the win is a big achievement for the club and a life-changing experience for Berkley.
"They always stay a champion for that year, so he will always be recognised as number one in Australia at some point,” Moller said.
"This is the first time we've ever had a national champion in the Production Sedan class as well.”
Moller, who had been watching Berkley with a keen eye since he started racing about five years ago, said it was an impressive feat for someone only in his second season in the senior rank.
He said the fact the group could boast of Berkley and current karts champion Blake Hancock showed "the depth of talent at the Speedway”.
"As a racer, he (Joel) has matured a lot in the last two years,” he said.
"He was the highest point scorer for the previous Australian title and it looks like he's learned from that experience.
"There's a lot more maturity in his driving.”
"He's got a big future ahead of him and hopefully he can get some sponsors and take his racing to the next level.”