Returning to Darwin’s Northline Speedway to contest the Chariots of Thunder Sprintcar Series for the second season, this time upgrading from a 360ci to a 410ci engine, teenager Rusty Hickman’s consistent performance throughout the five-round series saw him impressively place inside the top five against some formidable opponents.
While it wasn’t the best of starts for the 17-year-old racer, who suffered an unfortunate DNF during the opening round of the series, which doubled as the Make A Wish Cup, and experienced the same fate the following weekend during the Friday night’s Defend the Top End event, he certainly bounced back the next night in the Pope 65 Bob Ekins Memorial race.
Qualifying out of position two for Saturday night’s feature race after a third and a win from his two heat races, Hickman remained within the top five, battling with the likes of James McFadden and David Murcott, through to the fall of the chequered flag and crossed the finish line in fifth.
Continuing to show good speed aboard the Vic # 40 Hickman’s Tree Maintenance supported J&J car throughout qualifying, picking up another heat-race win on night one of the NT Title, Hickman lined up fifth for the preliminary feature race, before coming home in sixth.
Heading into the fifth and final night of competition, a second and a sixth-place result during qualifying heat races saw Hickman start the NT Title-deciding feature race out of position six, with him making his way up to third in the early stages, before greeting the chequered flag in a pleasing fifth place, earning him fourth place overall in the Chariots of Thunder Series point score.
“A top-five finish in the Chariots of Thunder Series is a fantastic result, especially since I was up against such a strong field of drivers, so it fills me with a lot of confidence heading into the season ahead,” commented the Bendigo, Victoria-based racer, whose highlight of the Chariots of Thunder Series was starting alongside McFadden on the front row of a heat race and then going on to defeat him fair and square.
“We were consistent throughout the five rounds and managed to qualify within the first three rows of every feature race, which showed our good speed and we were able to come away with some strong results.”
Hickman will now turn his attention to the upcoming 2017-18 season, which is set to get underway at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway on the Saturday night of October 14 with the opening Eureka Garages & Sheds Series round.
Hickman is proudly supported in the 2017-18 season by: Hickman’s Tree Maintenance, Beeps Auto Parts - Bendigo, Victory Lane Racegear, Tasco Petroleum, Mobil 1, Choice Graphics, Jackal Fencing, Peerless Products Pty Ltd, Advanced Engine Dynamics, Camden Signs, and J&J Auto Racing. Special thanks must go to Sandie and Darren (mum and dad), Amy and Olivia (sisters), and crew member Frog.
To find out more about Hickman and the Hickman Motorsport team, LIKE them on Facebook by searching Hickman Motorsport Vic 40.