Success for Bullens on Waharoa speedway track
Cameron and Marcus Bullen are the only father and son pairing ‘‘silly enough’’ to race production saloons at Waharoa Speedway.
The pair have reaped the rewards after a successful season at the local track.
Marcus was awarded the outstanding competitor of the year prize at the Waharoa Speedway prizegiving for the second year in a row.
He also won the North Island production saloon prize for the first time and New Zealand production saloon prize for the fifth time in six years.
For five years he had the highest number of season points out of club members in the saloon class.
This year Marcus let his son Cameron drive his car fulltime, instead of part time, and he scooped this prize. Cameron also came second in the Aleisha O’Reilly Memorial 30 lapper and third in the club championship for the saloon class.
The Clareys and Wongs are the other father and son pairings at the local speedway, but they’re involved in ministocks.
Marcus has been involved in stock cars for six years. His friend Damien Laird brought him along to the club and he thought he could do what he was doing.
Marcus thought getting behind the wheel would be good promotion for his tyre shop, which at the time was based in Matamata but is now in Hamilton.
‘‘It went from having a little fun, to being a little competitive to having lots of fun and having a lot of competitiveness and chasing titles, travelling all over the North Island,’’ Morrinsville based Marcus laughed.
His 17-year-old son has been driving for three seasons.
Marcus got Cameron involved so he learnt to drive on a track in a safe environment.
The Bullens initially had a car each but have been sharing one saloon since Cameron’s sister wrote off his car by hitting the wall at the Waharoa track last year.
The Bullens said they are relaxed before a race until the green flag drops and have a different philosophy from most drivers.
They set their car up for the back half of the race, as Marcus believes they both have the ability to ‘‘tackle whatever they chuck at us for the start of the race and we can finish stronger than anyone else; that’s what I bank on.’’
They also like to conserve energy for the last few laps whereas other drivers like to get out in front of them early.
‘‘We never show our full hand, we always have a little bit in reserve.’’
Along with race-craft, the strength of the car and the conditions of the track, Marcus said there are also mind games.
‘‘There are a lot of stories that are told around the pits and I’ve been around long enough to know the truth and the white lies.’’
Marcus is now at a crossroads. Does he hang up his helmet next year or try a different class? He has both stock car and Circle Track Racing Association (CTRA) titles.
There is a big pressure from others for Cameron to live up to his dad’s legacy.
‘‘Young Cam is still finding his feet. My biggest fear as a father is he will be under pressure and expectations because his dad has done what he has done.’’
Driving his dad’s car, which Marcus drove to win both the national and North Island titles, had also put pressure on Cameron from others, although both Bullens said it’s not just about the car.
‘‘He had days when he didn’t drive like he should and then he has other days when he has driven like a devil possessed.’’
Marcus was also worried that his club, which he is president of, will struggle to retain members next year because of the low Fonterra pay out.
Last season the club’s membership peaked at 175.