Barkley competes at the 52nd Gulf Western Oil Winternationals!

After a 14 hr direct flight from Vancouver, Ethan arrived in Brisbane the morning of May 30th and was greated by his good friend Leith Darrach. The pair wasted little time headed for Willowbank Raceway which was a few hours drive from the airport. Ethan was riding Leith's turbo Hayabusa in the "Winter's Warm up" event that preceded the actual Winternationals. This provided them with time to sort the bike out as it had a host of new components installed in the off-season as well as making the switch from leaded fuel to Ethanol. Australia placed a ban on leaded fuels of any kind that was to take effect July1st. This was a challenge for many teams but especially Ethan and Leith as this bike had only 1 hour of runtime on the new fuel.

Ethan waits for his turn to take the track in at the "Winter's Warm Up" event.

Ethan putting on a flame show in the Australian night sky in testing!

Unfortunately mother nature had other plans for the Winter's Warm-Up providing plenty of showers over the coarse of the 3 days. Nonetheless the pair managed to get a lot of work done to the bike and made it down the track running mid 8's at 150+ mph.

Ethan with a young motorcycle fan in the pits!

With the "Warm Up" event behind them, Ethan and Leith kept working on the bike in order to be as ready as possible for the main event. They went over the bike from front to back updating / improving the brakes, tuning, electronics and bodywork.

Ethan ready to do battle at the Winternationals!

Qualifications were held on June 6-7th. It was a challenging couple of days with more rain falling Friday afternoon cutting the event short. The team only got two passes in but Ethan managed to improve his times to a repectable 8.16 @ 160+ mph which was good enough for 5th spot.

Ethan gives chase as he puts the power down!

Sunday's eleiminations were hampered by rain most of the day so the schedule was pushed back. Instead of running the first elimination pass at 11:30 am, they were up at 7:30 pm. It was worth the wait as Ethan lined up against #4 qualifier Sam Taylor from Queensland. Sam jumped the gun and red lit, handing Ethan the win immediatly. Ethan needed to make a full pass as the competition would be even more fience in the coming rounds and they needed data.. Unfortualty the engine had other ideas and expired at the 1000' mark, Ethan coasted across the finish with a 8.09/143. It was a win but also a heartbreaking loss as the pair were unable to repair the bike in time for the next round.

Leith and Ethan enjoying a cold beer after a hard fought 10 days!

All in all it was an amazing experience for Ethan to race in Australia. Even though the racing didn't go as planned Ethan met some great people and made plenty of new friends. Ethan would like to say a special thanks to Leith Darrach who graciously lent his bike as well as providing accomodations for Ethan during his visit.


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