Having never before visited the top step of the podium during his 19 seasons in 410 Sprintcars, Charles Hunter recently decided that he would need to set his focus solely on his racing if he wanted to achieve new milestones, which is exactly what he did last Saturday night.
When your time and effort is divided between two passions, it stands to reason that your results would be too, and this was certainly the case for Hunter, who for the better part of the past two decades has been juggling his time between AFL and speedway.
Since deciding that it was time to retire from his AFL career, the 37-year-old has now turned all of his attention to the race track, which has proved to be the turning point of his long stint in 410 Sprintcars, with his mental game being stronger than ever.
While last season delivered him with his first major achievement in the class, being his maiden feature-race podium result, Hunter has continued to prove that anything is possible if you refuse to let your motivation and determination waver.
Racking up two consecutive podium finishes in the two Eureka Garages & Sheds Series rounds prior to last Saturday night’s 10th round, with a third-place result at Moama’s Heartland Raceway and a runner-up finish at Hamilton’s Western Speedway, Hunter’s 2018-19 season was about to get a whole lot better.
Displaying strong pace from the outset on home soil at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway aboard his Vic # 73 Paint Works – Werribee / SRJB Roofing supported Maxim, the Werribee, Victoria-based driver earned the pole position start for the feature race by virtue of a win and a fourth-place finish in his heat races and was never headed throughout the 25-lap distance, surviving a late-race caution to hold on for his maiden feature-race victory.
“The fact that I won my first feature race is still so surreal and I can’t describe the emotion of being able to do my first wing dance at my home track in front of my family and friends,” expressed Hunter, who was driving the Maxim car that he’d built for the Grand Annual Classic back in January, where he just missed on qualifying for the feature race.
“We were definitely up against some of the heavy-hitters, so the fact that we were able to come out on top off our own merit made it even more special. We’ve been sticking to basics with our car and it’s really been paying off, but I think being able to focus solely on my racing has made all the difference in our consistency and results.
“I have to say a massive thank you to my family, all of my friends and my sponsors who have continued to believe in me throughout the past 19 seasons. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to race for as long as I have.”
Currently sitting second in the Eureka Garages & Sheds Series point standings with just two rounds remaining, Hunter’s chance to improve on last season’s career-best fifth-place finish looks promising.
Planning to throw everything he has at the latter stages of the season in an effort to win the overall series, Hunter’s next appearance will be this Saturday night at Ballarat’s Redline Raceway for the penultimate series round, with the grand final being held at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway on March 16.
Hunter would like to thank the following 2018-19 season sponsors for their support: Paint Works – Werribee, SRJB Roofing, Rock Constructions, AAC Electrical, Auspac Exhaust, Mick Kerr Rendering, Main Street Café – Winchelsea, Parr Motorsports, R.A.K Davis & Sons Cartage Contractors, and Buzzard Engineering.
Special thanks go to Butch (dad), Sue (mum), Heath (brother), Nicole (sister), niece and nephew, Billie (daughter), and Tam (family friend).