Darren Vine won the first of his 8 ACSA Australian Titles in the 1996/1997 racing season at Wagga Wagga. Vine was generous to share with us some details of his first Compact Speedcar Title win.
What was your car/motor combination?
This was the first car I drove (see picture.) I believe it was built on the Gold Coast by a Kiwi. We modified the frame to work better with the chain drive. It was powered by a 2 valve Suzuki GS1000 (no turbo)
How did the race unfold?
I don’t remember where I started. The track was tricky with long straights and tight slick corners. We had a great car for the feature and was battling with Paul Raynes for the lead. Paul unfortunately broke his diff and pulled infield. At that point I knew, “I can win this,” and just kept up a good pace.
Do you remember your first thought after you had won the Title race?
The feeling was unbelievable. As this was my first meeting back after my big crash at Lismore 4 months earlier where I was put in an induced coma from getting head injuries. I had nerve damage to my left hand and was learning to walk again as my left leg would not move. Also, while I was in hospital, the title was being run in Bendigo, Victoria, and as the feature race was lining up for the green it rained and was called off as a non-event to be re-run at a later date and venue. I was given clearance to race from the neurosurgeon a week before Wagga was to host the re run title.
Are you still involved in Speedway? If so, what divisions?
I’m still racing Compacts but my focus is now more with racing midget speedcars.
What are some highlights from your Compact Career?
Highlights are the way it unfolded to win my first Aussie Title. Winning 8 Aussie Titles and every one of them had its own challenges to overcome. Knowing you can do it again and it was no fluke is a very satisfying feeling.
How many years have you been racing?
24 years racing. Not retired yet!
What advice would you give to those competing in this year’s ACSA Australian Title?
Do as many laps as possible. Never stop thinking of ways to improve your car and driving.
Any other comments?
To hold the record as most Australian title wins in the history of Compact Speedcar competition is very important to me and my family who have supported Compacts for many decades through my sister Julie, grandfather Don and my dad Mike.
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