Ipswich racer's V8 future unclear
AWARD-winning Ipswich racer Ash Walsh has never sidestepped a major challenge, even in the cut-throat world of motorsport.
However, he's entering an uncertain stage having been sidelined from his Erebus team in recent V8 Supercars rounds.
After being overlooked as a driver for the Phillip Island SuperSprint last month and last weekend's Sydney 500, Walsh has suddenly found himself in limbo.
"There's a bit of rumours going around about whether they (Erebus) are going to have one car or two cars going around next year,'' Walsh said.
"They are deciding what they are going to do. Basically what I do will be dependant on that.''
Although having a year left on his Erebus contract, Walsh said he hadn't committed to a team for the 2016 season.
"I'm not really considering anything (other offers) until I know what's happening,'' he said.
Walsh, who turns 28 next month, is weighing up his future having just won the V8 Supercars Mike Kable "Young Gun'' Award.
He shared his success with partner Eleanor Rose at the V8 Supercars Gala Awards night in Sydney.
"It's good to finally get something out of the year,'' Walsh said. "It's been a pretty hard year.
"I'm happy to get some recognition.''
The award honours someone with rookie status in the V8 Supercars or development series.
Having been elevated from a few successful seasons in the Dunlop series, the former Ipswich Grammar School student concedes it was a testing introduction to Australia's top flight racing.
"It's completely different,'' he said. "It was good just to be able to step up and have a crack at the main game in all the different formats and different tyres.
"Being in the Dunlop series is a good championship as well but being at the top grade is where I want to be.''
Whichever way he goes in 2016, Walsh will benefit from this season.
"It's been a rollercoaster,'' the Ipswich born and bred driver said.
"There's been some good points and some bad points but I've certainly learnt a lot throughout the year and it puts me in better stead for anything I do in the future.''
Highlights include a top 10 finish in the opening weekend before qualifying in the top 10 in front of his home crowd at Queensland Raceway.
Disappointing moments include not finishing at Bathurst, some knee issues which affected his car set-up and being benched for the Phillip Island and Sydney rounds.
"They (Erebus) decided they wanted to go in a different direction,'' he said.
The former karting ace hopes to build on what he's achieved.
"It's good to be able to do what you love,'' he said. "It's certainly volatile and you don't have much job security.
"Sometimes it's probably (a case of) the grass is greener (on the other side) but it's where I want to be.
"You spend your life trying to become a professional race driver. To finally get there is quite satisfying. The next part is staying there and becoming successful.''
While waiting for further news on the 2016 Erebus team, Walsh is planning a Christmas/new year holiday on the Gold Coast.
The Young Gun award winner deserves that much.
"We've been away so much it's good to finally get a bit of time at home as well,'' the proud Ipswich sportsman said. "Hopefully I get to go again.''