Bates takes out NSW Win­g­less Sprints ti­tle

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - SPORT - Danielle Jarvis

MO­TOR­SPORT racer Ja­son Bates has won his first NSW Win­g­less Sprints cham­pi­onship in 15 years of rac­ing.

The St Clair res­i­dent’s win didn’t come easy, af­ter arch ri­val and good friend Jeff Thomas pushed him all the way at the Valvo­line Race­way, in Granville.

“Jeff and I are mates, I’ve raced him for about five years,” Bates said.

“He’s one of my tough­est com­peti­tors.

“It was pretty tough the whole race be­cause Jeff was the clos­est one to me for most of the race.”

De­spite be­ing wheel to wheel with Thomas, Bates main­tained the lead at each of the 25 laps to be crowned the cham­pion.

“Full credit must go to Jeff,” Bates said.

“He drove a clean and hard race and he cer­tainly made me earn it, which was what made this vic­tory even more sat­is­fy­ing.”

De­spite be­ing the favour- ite to win, the 35-year-old fa­ther of two said it was an hon­our.

“I felt a bit of pres­sure lead­ing into the event, as I was re­garded as one of the favourites but I just had to not think too far ahead than my heat races and then fo­cus on the fea­ture race, which was what I did,” Bates said.

“To win a NSW cham­pi­onship is a great hon­our, but to do it up against such a large and com­pet­i­tive field of driv­ers makes it all the more spe­cial.

“It was all sur­real. To have the best cars around I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to walk away and win it,” he said.

“It takes a lot to ac­tu­ally qual­ify and then to win ... it’s still sort of sink­ing in.”

Bates is a proud third-gen­er­a­tion racer who has been rip­ping up the track for many years.

The win means Bates will com­pete in the Aus­tralian ti­tles in Tas­ma­nia in Fe­bru­ary.

Un­til then, the Bates Rac­ing team con­tin­ues to lead the NSW club cham­pi­onship, win­ning three of the four rounds.

Bates placed third in the Queens­land ti­tles in 2015 and sev­enth at last sea­son’s Aus­tralian ti­tles.

Ja­son Bates (St Clair) won the re­cent NSW Win­g­less Sprints Cham­pi­onship at Syd­ney's Valvo­line Race­way. Pic­tures: Crashy's Pho­tos

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