Suc­cess for Bul­lens on Wa­haroa speed­way track

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

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.

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