Cobram race car driver Ben Hamilton finished his season in the Australian Pulsar Racing Association on a high at Winton Motor Raceway.
Hamilton, 23, finished third in the overall championship standings and the end of the event on November 17-18.
The weekend was not without complications for Hamilton, having problems with an overheating engine, which meant he could not drive the car at full capacity.
‘‘The weekend was really tricky because of the engine issues, which was disappointing, because I qualified fifth and was only about a second off first,’’ Hamilton said.
‘‘I thought the car was going to be in really good touch, but unfortunately as the weekend progressed, I had to back it down because the engine was a chance of blowing if I pushed it too hard.’’
Despite mechanical problems, Hamilton had finishes of fifth, fourth and sixth in his three races across the weekend, seeing him in third position at the end of the six-race season, his goal before the season started.
‘‘I was actually mathematically still in with a shot for the title heading into Winton, but realistically it was going to be a long shot,’’ he said.
‘‘So my main objective was to get third place and I finished sixth in the round, which was just enough to see me hold onto third place overall.’’
With improvements made to his Pulsar before the start of the season, Hamilton improved on last season’s efforts, when he seventh overall.
‘‘I had a terrible season last year due to reliability issues with my car, which really hampered its speed, so to finish third this season convinced me that I do have a lot of potential and that the car can perform well,’’ he said.
Hamilton said now the season was done, he only had positive reflections on how it panned out.
‘‘Even though it was a disappointing final round in a way, I’m really happy with how the season progressed because I set the goal to finish on the podium come the end of the season and I achieved that,’’ he said.
‘‘It was also really enjoyable, because I got to make some strong friendships with fellow drivers and raced at a higher intensity than last season, thanks to the development of my car.
‘‘I reckon it was probably a solid four seconds quicker than what it was last year.’’
Hamilton was unsure if he would race the Australian Pulsar Racing Association again, as he was considering stepping up to a national level of competition if feasible.
‘‘If I wanted to continue Pulsar racing, the car would probably need a complete overhaul because it has done quite a bit of work this year,’’ he said.
‘‘If I don’t continue with it, I have got offers to race in another category at a national level, which is a big step up.’’
Hamilton has been offered to race in the Production Cars Australia category, which allows competitors to enter a road legal car just like the Pulsar Association.
But being a national level, it would give Hamilton the chance to get his foot in the door with some big name teams.
‘‘If you compete well there it can nearly set you up for bigger events,’’ he said.
‘‘I have had offers to drive with other teams through connections I have but with national competition, it’s a big commitment financially so I will have to weigh all of that up before making a decision.’’
Hamilton thanked his sponsors Future Fitness 24/7, North Vic Engines, Cobram Hire, Intune Automotive, Better Home Living Cobram and Artavilla’s Emporium for support throughout the season.