SPEED DEMON: Racing is in Trent Headland s blood. The Roxby resident who hails from Murray Bridge excels in the sport of speedway sidecar racing.Trent Headland is not comfortable with coming last in anything.
The exception to rule is being the Roxby Downs Sun’s last community profile for 2014.
Trent has gunned it around sidecar tracks from France to Broken Hill and has competed with the best the sport can throw at him.
And, while he is considered one of the sports top riders, an Australian Championship has eluded him.
To date Trent’s accolades include winning the 2012/13 season King of the Hill at Broken Hill Speedway, third place at the 2011 SA Sidecar Championship, the Sidecar Grand Slam Series, the Red Centre 1000 in Alice Springs and recently another third place in the Spectrum Direct Sidecar Spring Nationals at Gosford Showground Speedway with his newest passenger England’s Daryl ‘Daz’ Whetstone.
Trent and Daz also rewrote the Westline Speedway track record at 64.53 seconds in the third heat.
All well and good said the boy from Murray Bridge, because third might as well be last, considering his ultimate goal for this season is standing on the podium at the end of the current season, basking in Australian Championship glory.
In a recent interview with the Roxby Downs Sun, Trent said the closest he had come was fifth.
“I know I can beat anyone in Australia but to win the golden prize, I haven’t quite done it,” he said.
“Winning the Australian Championships is not something that just falls in your lap.”
Sidecar racing has been a Headland family staple for as long as he can remember.
“For years my brother Jesse and I grew up shed racing,” he laughed.
“My feet couldn’t even reach the ground.
“At nine-years-old I used to ride out on the farm at Monteith near Murray Bridge.
“It wasn’t until the day after my 16th birthday at an A grade meeting I had my initiation as a passenger on dad’s bike.
“It was crazy.
“Dad’s crazy now but was even crazier back then.”
When you father is back-to-back Federation of International Motorcycling (FIM)Track Racing Sidecar World Champion Mick Headland, it was inevitable Trent was destined to involve himself in the sport.
Trent makes it quite clear, he is his own man and his own rider with skills and a riding technique that is far removed from his fathers.
“I always respected how my dad did things and what he did,” he said.
“He’s nailed it and he knows what it takes to get it done.
“No one else can do what he does and race the way he does it.
“He has a different style and has a different approach.”
Having a father who has excelled at the sport, it is inevitable the son will be compared to the father.
A concept that at best peeves the rising star.
“I think I’ve copped a bit of pressure in the last few years by people comparing me to my dad and that’s one of my pet hates,” he said.
“I’ve never tried to ride in his image and I have my own way of doing things, my own style.”
Trent has a reputation of being a no nonsense, aggressive rider, taking his lead from former Australian champions such as Glen and Nathan O’Brien when it came to studying the finer aspects of the sport.
“Back in the day Glen and Nathan were winning everything, they’d go out and make people look stupid,” Trent recalled.
“They were that much further advanced and I just naturally admired people that rode well and presented well; their whole team was the package.”
These days Trent is cultivating his own package “The Roxby Rockets” with the support of his partner Millie, team manager Tommy Hannigan, Michelle Stocker, Daryl ‘Daz’ Whetstone, and his son, eight-year-old Nate.
With the brand comes sacrifice, as is the lot of the passionate sportsperson and entourage.
To date the Roxby Rockets have travelled about 25,000 kilometres this season chasing the dream.
“People don’t realise the sacrifice you make racing,” he said.
“During the racing season we [the team] miss out on birthdays, weddings and all those things ordinary people do.
“You’re always travelling and I think we’ve missed the pageant for the last three years.”
Hours spent in the shed, pulling apart and reassembling engines and bike frames is a burden of love for a sport that has the propensity to annoy one’s partner.
“Millie cracks it sometimes,” he laughed.
“She puts up with me out here in the shed, every day and every week and I’m thankful for that.
“Without great people around me, a great family and great sponsors, I couldn’t do this.”
Trent said having an extended speedway sidecar family is a positive in the frantic world of racing.
“The social part of the sport is brilliant and so is the places we go and the people we meet,” he said.
“Everywhere we go, we are welcomed with open arms.”
Trent said he is 150 per cent committed to attaining his dream of becoming Australian champion.
Trent has stated in the past to win a race let alone a championship it takes “a good bike, a good rider, a good passenger, good sponsors, a lot of luck because without any of them you’re stuffed”.
However, Trent admits while his vision is to have a crack at and take home the Australian title at the Northern Territory’s Arunga Park Speedway next year, a World Title sometime in the future would be icing on a cake, he has yet to cut.
Until then he and the Roxby Rockets are focusing their efforts on each race and challenge as it presents it self.
Each race is a fix for the ex-Murray Bridge High School boy who grew up wanting to be a fighter pilot.
He may not be getting his high at Mach 2 at 36,000 feet, however, belting around a speedway track at ridiculous speeds on a bike with no brakes sends the 29-year-old sky high.
“Everyone’s got their drug or their poison haven’t they,” he said.
“I guess this (sidecar speedway) is mine.”