Michael Holmes has been one of the stable drivers when it comes to consistency in the Maxima Racing Oils Pro Dirt Series over numerous seasons, but this year not in the way we are used to seeing.
“It’s funny in the past I have struggled in the heats and then gone forward in the features whereas this year we are opposite – I think we have won 3 heats.” Holmes explained.
“But the best feature finish we have managed is a fifth, reliability is defiantly what you need to succeed in this series, if you drop a feature it’s so hard to make up the lost ground.”
Holmes, who at the half way point of the 2016/17 of the Maxima Racing Oils Pro Dirt Series sits in fourth place, has always been a model of consistency since arriving in the series, but it was only last year at the Quit Bunbury Speedway where he was able to grab his first series round victory, and after so many podium finishes, Holmes finally got the monkey off his back.
“Relief was the main one; I couldn’t believe I had finally won a Pro Dirt round after having had so many podiums.”
Holmes though, does realize that the competition, especially in the last couple of seasons has become very challenging even to come home with a podium finish.
“The cars have got faster but the biggest change is the depth of the competition – sometimes you race your butt off in WA and come 8th and you sit down with cold one at the end of the night and say – you know what all of those 7 cars that beat us are all damn fast cars. On any given night there are 10 – 12 cars that could legitimately win the round.”
Michael Holmes Racing, like his has done many times in the past is about to double in size, adding a second car for Bowling Green, Kentucky’s Steve Francis who has won the mini-series three times in the four occasions it has been ran. Holmes, along with his team knows the stresses as the team prepare of the two car assault.
“You can imagine a race team puts a fair amount of preparation into running four nights in nine days. Add in a test session at Kwinana that’s five nights in 11 days, we try and get ahead by having all our tires mounted and grooved ready for both weekends.
“We go through the inventory of spares and consumables in the trailer to make sure we have almost everything we need to repair the race car on the road. On top of that the race car gets a full service, all the oils changed, shocks checked, valve train on the motor serviced etc. etc. Then if your Michael Holmes racing multiplies all that work by two for two cars, it’s been a very hectic week in our workshop and there are still a couple of late nights to go.”
Francis and Holmes will be teaming up for their fifth assault running under the Michael Holmes Racing Banner, and in that time, Holmes has been able to see the value of having a driver with a resume like Steve Francis assisting with his programme.
“It’s been fantastic – he fast tracked my learning when we started out exponentially. Not just in car set up but also maintenance & reliability. Then as a house driver for Barry Wright Race cars for 3 years and us becoming the BWRC agents in WA you just can’t put a value of having that line of communication direct with the manufacturer and the guy racing the house car each week .”
Coming up to the USA Invasion Tour for 2017, Holmes still believes that Francis will be the one to beat, but also believe some of Western Australian best can dethrone the Kentucky Colonel.
“It will definitely be one of the Americans and I’m going to be biased and say Steve will take out is fourth USA invasion tour. Devin Moran is a very talented young man whom I believe will be one of the sports greats.”
“I haven’t personally seen Jason Fitzgerald race but I understand he’s a guru on the GRT and discounting him from the discussion on potential winners could prove to be big mistake. Blake, the Oldfield’s and Giancola will give the Americas a scare and may even steel a round win, but when the points are tallied next Saturday night it’s going to be hard to beat these three guys that do this full time for a living.
Holmes and Michael Holmes Racing will also like to thank his wife, who calls herself a ‘Speedway Widow” during this part of the year, Barry Wright Race Cars, XLI Global Logistics who have come on board to help bring Steve out this year and all his hard working crew members, Jock, Rourke, Rob, Tyler, Phil & Gary.
Catch Holmes, Francis and the rest of Western Australia’s best at the 2017 USA Invasion Tour at the following rounds:
Round 1: January 13-14 – Perth Motorplex
Round 2: January 20 – Quit Collie Speedway
Round 3: January 21 – Attwell Park Speedway (Albany)