Student mechanic fine tunes for fast-lane fury 

Driver and CDU automotive student Jason Wegert inspects the street stock car prepared by automotive students at CDU’s Alice Springs campus for the speedway season

Automotive student Jason Wegert is looking forward to Round 2 of the speedway season in Alice Springs this Saturday with a heightened sense of purpose.

He has put his hand up to drive Charles Darwin University’s “project car” in the Street Stock division at Arunga Park against some of Central Australia’s best speedway drivers.

“It’s a very good car,” Jason said of the EA Ford, which has just come off the hoist in the Automotive workshop at Alice Springs campus.

“It sounds good and looks the part,” he said.

Lecturer Robert Tucker said this was the first time CDU had engaged its automotive students in building a speedway car.

“About 30 of our Certificate III Automotive students have worked on the vehicle,” he said.

“It has captured their imagination and generated a bit of talk around town.”

Robert said students had installed a radiator and fuel tank purpose-built for racing and had inserted a spool in the differential to lock the rear axles.

“Locking the axles is a standard thing to do. It will provide more drive and that will increase the potential for better lap times,” he said.

“The students have also fitted the obligatory roll cage, taken out the glass and fitted a set of fibre glass panels.”

Robert said all the students had expressed a desire to race the vehicle but Jason was probably the most qualified.

“He’s the only one licensed by the National Association of Speedway Racing and you have to have their ticket before they let you on the track.”

Indeed Jason has grown up around engines and racing cars.

“Dad has been racing and building cars for as long as I can remember,” the 18-year-old apprentice mechanic said.

“I began racing go karts when I was 7. I did that for a few years and was the Territory number 3.

“Then I moved to junior street stock and won the overall series (juniors) both this year and last year,” he said.