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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Mills targets higher finish

Speedcar driver Travis Mills finishes the racing series this weekend, aiming for a state title.

LUKE MCMANUS December 31, 2013 4:37am

Travis Mills' last race of the season is this weekend.


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They say fortune favours the brave, but after six rounds of Australia’s inaugural Speedcar Pro Series, only misfortune has greeted Echuca-Moama’s Travis Mills.

Against many of the country’s best drivers, Mills is ranked eighth in the championship standings and will vie for a possible top-five finish when the series wraps up in Warrnambool on Sunday.

While commendable, the 33-year-old admits his series has been well below the expectations set by himself and his contracted racing team, Sydney’s Graham Racing Development.

‘‘It’s been really disappointing,’’ Mills said.

‘‘Our aim was to win the series or finish top three, which we were certainly capable of, but due to some bad luck and a few other issues we’re too far behind.

‘‘I’m in a new car with a new motor combination, so it was always going to be a tough ask to jump into a series and do well against the best, but I thought we should have gone better.’’

Mills’ hopes of a podium finish were dashed in Nowra on the NSW coast, when round six was called off due to poor weather.

Before the December 14 event, Mills had just fought his way back into contention after a disastrous start to the series.

Battling mechanical and electrical issues with his new N14 Eagle, Mills failed to finish both qualifying heats in the opening round in Perth, before managing sixth in the feature race.

The hard luck story deepened for Mills during the rest of the Western Australian leg, bowing out in the next two races at Collie and Bunbury.

‘‘We just struggled with the set-up of the car early on,’’ Mills said.

‘‘Our confidence was low and we were spending lots of money trying to get the car up and running.’’

Despite unfavourable results, Mills remains bullish about his chances on the weekend, buoyed by promising drives in rounds four and five.

He finished fourth in Adelaide and, despite crashing due to an uncharacteristic mistake, led for most of the race.

‘‘To crash in two races was disappointing. I was the innocent victim in one then made a mistake in the other and paid the price.

‘‘In my last two runs we’ve made up a lot of ground and speed in the car and have been quite competitive.

‘‘It’s been 100 per cent improvement but it’s happened a bit too late.’’

Sunday’s race at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway also incorporates the Victorian Speedcar Championship, which Mills is a big chance of taking out.

A previous holder of the Victorian title, Mills will be hoping to emulate the feats achieved by his father John, a two-time Victorian champion during his 25-year career.

‘‘Warrnambool is a good track and it’s a double-up event which makes it even bigger,’’ Mills said.

‘‘I’d love to win it, especially because Dad’s won it twice, so it would be nice to match him.’’

Mills’ family link with speedcar racing extends even further, with brother-in-law Andy Pearce sixth in the standings, just 12 points ahead of Mills.

Western Australia’s Lee Redmond (1334 points) leads the championship ahead of fellow statesman Dayne Kingshott (1272) and NSW racer Mark Brown (1257).

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