Bates breaks through as NSW champion

Family matters: NSW wingless sprint car champion Jason Bates and wife Karen, who he says “I wouldn’t be able to race without her help”. Bates said his family has been a big support to his racing career. Picture: SuppliedAfter 15 years of competitive driving, Jason Bates has broken through to win his first wingless sprint NSW championship earlier this month.

With his previous best results coming in 2015 with athird in the Queensland title and seventh in the Australian title, St Clair resident Bates, 35, admitted it was “a bit surreal”.

“I tried not to think about it at the time but once we’d done it, I was pretty stoked,” he said.

“It doesn’t happen that often so it was pretty good.”

Bates entered the NSW championship as one of the favourites and qualified in pole position for the championship race.

Despite leading from beginning to end, hehad to work hardfor the victory, goingwheel-to-wheelwith second-placed finisher Jeff Thomas for the entirety of the 30-lap race.

“He was there the whole way so it was pretty exciting and the adrenaline was up the whole race,” Bates said.

“I had to keep my head together so I didn’t stuff up. It’s so much pressure trying to keep everything right and hit all the right marks on the track.”

Victory Lap: St Clair’s Jason Bates claimed the 2016 NSW Championship in wingless sprint, leading from beginning to end for a close win in the state final. Picture: Supplied

In the regular club championship, Bates is riding high, having won three of the four events so far this season to sit atop the championship ladder.

Following inhis fatherGreg’s footsteps after a35-year career behind the wheel, Bates said he was destined to race.

“He finished up when he retired from it and it was just in the blood,” he said.

“I stayed around it because it’s what I’vedone my whole life.”

Bates said it was only through the help of his family that he could compete at such a high-level.

He highlightedthe support of his wife Karen, who he said organises parts, merchandise, accommodation, his race gear and supportshis crew.

“She [Karen]is a massive help towards my racing, I wouldn’t be able to race without here help,” Bates said.

“My dad is a big part of my racing -I wouldn’t be half as good without his help. And my mother and mother in law play a key role too because without their help looking after my two little girls while I race, it would be impossible to race at all.

“We do every event all together as a family no matter what part of the country we’re in.”

State Champion: After 15 years of racing, Jason Bates had his first state title with the win. Picture: Supplied

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