By Ian Williams
South Australian speed ace Tim Slade always wanted to hurtle around Adelaide’s famed city circuit in a V8 supercar– and he reckons it’s “pretty cool” to be realising his dream in this year’s Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
The laid-back response is typical of the 31-year-old Adelaide driver, who’s grown up with speed after receiving his first racing go kart when he was only nine.
“I used to go to the Formula One with my Dad when I was a boy, and I reckon I would have been to most of the Clipsals growing up,” says Tim.
“Driving in the race is something that I’ve always wanted to do because as an event I definitely think it’s the biggest and best of the year – and I’m not just saying this because I’m a South Aussie.”
Clipsal 500 Adelaide is Australia’s largest domestic motor sports carnival with last year’s event attracting more than 260,000 motor race fans over four days, many of them from interstate and overseas.
Tim is driving a Holden VF Commodore for the Brad Jones Racing team again this year, and has been joined by another South Australian, Nick Percat, who won Sunday’s race in extreme wet weather in 2016.
Reaching elite status in any sport takes exceptional skill and relentless practice – and more often than not a determined mentor.
For Tim, it was local business owner James Rosenberg who showed great confidence in the young driver to kick-start his career.
“James had a real passion for helping out young guys like me and trying to get them through, so he was a massive help in my career and I still have a great relationship with him,” says Tim.
The Clipsal 500 Adelaide is traditionally the first race of the new V8 supercar season and Tim says he can’t wait to get started.
“We haven’t been to a race track for a few months so everyone is pretty keen and eager,” he says. “It’s great to get back on track and let the results do the talking. If I want to finish on the podium anywhere during the year it’s Bathurst or Clipsal.”
Tim is also pleased that this year’s Clipsal 500 has reverted to two 250 km races rather than the split 125 km quick-form races that have been staged for the Saturday program over the previous three years.
“I’m a bit of a traditionalist so I think it’s good that it’s gone back to two 250 km races. When I think of Clipsal I always think of the two races on Saturday and Sunday.”
With perfect clear days forecast for this year’s Clipsal 500 Adelaide, organisers are confident of another spectacular weekend.
The 2016 event recorded its highest economic impact ever – more than $65 million – and resulted in 72,234 visitor bed nights, which was also one of the highest on record (and that was achieved in rain and thunderstorms!).
Check out the video below to hear more about what’s in store for this year’s event from Nathan Cayzer, Clipsal 500 Adelaide General Manager.
Header image credit: Daniel Kalisz Photographer