12 November 2021 | General

50 year veteran of the clay enters National Trans Am

With a speedway career spanning more than 50 years, Barry Kelleher will be one of the more experienced drivers on the grid at Sydney Motorsport Park, however will make his debut in the National Trans Am Series on November 19-21.

Kelleher took his first career win in his native Great Britain in 1970, beginning a journey in which he raced the likes of a young Derek Warwick on the clay before he reached the great heights of Formula 1.

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Last year, the 76-year-old purchased the Ford Mustang owned by Carey McMahon and driven by Jimmy Vernon to three top 10 finishes in Adelaide.

He has since raced the Mustang in a variety of events including Sports Sedans and Super TT, but will step up to contest the next National Trans Am Series round at SMSP.

Although he has modest aims, Kelleher is excited to get back behind the wheel where he’ll join James Moffat, Jason Bargwanna and Chris Sutton as series debutants.

“You sit me in the car, belt me in and switch on, you’re not 76 anymore, are you?” Kelleher quipped. “You get in the zone, that’s it and away you go.

Completing most of the preparation himself within the workshop of Williams and Woods, Kelleher does have an alignment with a front running operation.

Wanting to get the most out of his Mustang, Kelleher through connections got in contact with Dave Nicol at DSportz, who leads the set-up and engineering for third-placed Edan Thornburrow.

“I bought the car and wasn’t going as well as I wanted so through connections, I was able to get in contact with Dave Nicol,” Kelleher explained.

“I gave him a call, so he helps at meetings and in car preparation, although I still primarily do a lot myself.

“Next weekend, I’ll be parked next to Edan’s car and he’ll give me a bit of advice while a couple of my mates help out.”

Kelleher’s Mustang will be emblazoned in the famous black and gold of the 1960s Hertz examples, with support from Williams and Woods.

The fifth round of National Trans Am begins on Friday with two practice sessions and qualifying beginning at 12:55pm. Race 1 on Saturday starts at 12:35pm, followed by the second event at 3:30pm, while Sunday’s finale begins at 11:25am.

All times AEDT.

Friday 19 November

12:55 – 1:15 Practice 1

3:05 – 3:25 Practice 2

5:35 – 5:55 Qualifying

Saturday 20 November:

12:35 – 12:55 Race 1

3:30 – 3:50 Race 2

Sunday 21 November:

11:25 – 11:45 Race 3