Driving ace on high-speed mission

MURWILLUMBAH speedway ace John Leslight is on a mission.

In a highly successful career which has seen Leslight claim six Queensland championships and three NSW crowns, one title has proved elusive.

On Saturday night in Toowoomba, Leslight has a big chance to clinch his first national title in the National Super Sedan Series.

He has been in impressive form approaching Toowoomba, but the track hasn't always been lucky for him. n

The last time he raced at Toowoomba on December 31, Leslight was leading in the final when he screwed the tail shaft of his Pontiac Grand Prix, putting him out of the placings.

He bounced back in January this year, winning at Archerfield in Brisbane before posting a second at Moama in Victoria and a third at Avalon in Victoria.

He then returned to Moama to secure a victory and more valuable points.

"This year, the national series is being conducted over four rounds and my placings in the two rounds that have counted have me leading the point score," Leslight said.

"This will be a real challenge at Toowoomba because there are 65 drivers nominated and there are only 20 in the finals.

"You have to get through two days of qualifying and if you have a bad run or crash ? you're out."

Leslight rates the Toowoomba track one of his favourites, despite the mechanical mishap in December.

"It's our second-best track when it comes to results, and I have picked up two Queensland championships there," he said.

"If you have a little bit of luck in qualifying, you're in with a good chance."

And it seems Leslight will also be going to Toowoomba with a strong contingent from the Tweed to urge him on.

"I've had a fair bit of support which has been great, especially from Brims Concrete and East Track Quarries, and those guys will be coming along on Saturday night.

"It will be good to know that I have plenty of Murwillumbah people in my corner for a crack at the title."

Leslight's Pontiac Grand Prix is powered by a Chev 366 V8 which generates up to 660 horsepower.

He is confident of his equipment, but like everyone who competes outdoors, he is also wary of the weather gods.

"If it rains, the track will be boggy and that will change things for everyone," he said.

Leslight views Gold Coast driver Jamie McHugh as his main danger after McHugh won a Grand Prix event in Tasmania two weeks ago.

After coming close to winning the national title on several occasions in the past, Leslight is eager not to let this opportunity pass him by. - BOB ANTHONY

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