Bates takes out NSW Wingless Sprints title
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