Toowoomba, AUS — February 14, 2009 – By Ben Graham, Dirt Modifieds Australia Media Liaison
Thirty one. That’s the total number of racing laps contested by Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series invader Gary Tomkins on his 2009 Australian tour after rain washed out his second and final race on Saturday night (Feb. 14). Tomkins was to contest in Round Two of the Roosters Cup V8 Dirt Modified Series at Charlton Raceway in Toowoomba, only for rain in the lead-up and the threat of more to come, seeing the race postponed to April 25, long after his return to the United States.
“It’s not really the way we wanted to finish our trip,” said Tomkins from the Toowoomba home of car owner Ray Klarich. “Unfortunately, that is the nature of the beast. We had that type of year at home too, though. We run at Canandaigua (NY) Speedway on Saturday and except for 3 or 4 nights when we raced there, it rained every time pretty much. It had to have been 15 times last year, it’s just the way the weather has been.”
Ironically, Toowoomba is a city that has suffered from a severe water shortage in recent times, and although the rain has disappointed the speedway fraternity, it was welcomed by the city’s residents.
“We did some tourist stuff Saturday morning and got back here early afternoon and it hadn’t rained a drop since,” Tomkins said. “It’s just one of those things, there is always the question in the back of your mind, could they have pulled it off. But I understand, there’s a lot of people coming from other classes that were arriving from far away and then you’ve got to worry about drawing fans so I understand the deal.”
Even though its not raining doesn’t mean they could have successfully pulled it off. Circumstances beyond anyone’s control saw Tomkins take to the track for just two heat races (8 laps each) and a shorted Feature race (15 laps) from a planned two race meetings. He finished fourth in his Lismore debut the previous weekend.
“In the race regard yes, it is disappointing,” Tomkins offered. “But we had a good time here. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we were at the Gold Coast vacationing, just my wife Susan and son Justin. I worked on the car a little but with Ray, nothing too strenuous, just hung out and relaxed really.”
After a whistlestop 11-day stay in Australia, the Tomkins family is now on its way back to their Clifton Springs (NY) home to continue with preparations for another busy season both at Canandaigua and on the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series, scheduled to kick off March 28 at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway with the first tour points event.