Title success tastes sweet for Harders
A MIXTURE of conservative driving and a bit of luck proved pivotal in Michael Harders' upset win in the Queensland Speedcar Title at Bundaberg's Carina Speedway.
The Springfield Lakes driver was in podium contention for the majority of the 30-lap decider, before he was able to capitalise on former Queensland champion and leader Grant Draney's flat right-rear tyre with two laps remaining.
"The Queensland Title has been something I've always wanted to achieve, and it feels great to finally do it," said Harders whose previous best result in a Queensland Title was third in 2009.
"Early in the feature race, I moved into third and was chasing after both Troy (Ware) and Grant (Draney), but I made the decision to not go too hard too early and look after my tyres for the latter stages of the race; it proved to be a vital decision.
"Being able to look after my tyres throughout the feature race had a lot to do with my good throttle control, which has really improved thanks to this year doing a bit of go-kart racing in between my speedcar commitments."
A drama in the opening heat race nearly ended Harders' Queensland Title hopes before the night had barely started.
After finishing seventh in his opening heat race, he heard a rough noise coming from his engine, which he initially thought was serious damage.
Back in the pit area, it was discovered by the team to be a damaged rocker in the engine, and it was quickly replaced just in time for the second heat race.
In the second heat race, Harders powered to victory.
As a result of a seventh and a win in his two heat races, he had qualified fourth for the feature race.
The former Redbank Plains State High School student said he was delighted to join some big names who had previously tasted Queensland Title glory.
"There are so many great drivers, including one of my early mentors in the late Keith Hutton, who have won Queensland Titles," he said.
"To be able to join them is quite an honour
"I've been racing speedcars for more than two decades and two of my main goals were to win the Queensland Club Championship and the Queensland Title.
"Last season, we narrowly missed out on the Queensland Club Championship and had to settle for second, but to come out and win this season's Queensland Title is very satisfying."