AUS: Twin sisters race at Willowbank

Twins tuned for title tilt Twenty-one year-old identical twin sisters Kate and Diana Harker are testament to the adage that two heads are better than one, especially when it comes to properly preparing and racing a motorsports machine in the...

Twins tuned for title tilt

Twenty-one year-old identical twin sisters Kate and Diana Harker are testament to the adage that two heads are better than one, especially when it comes to properly preparing and racing a motorsports machine in the ANDRA Australian Drag Racing Championship.

The Queensland based duo are shaping for just their second tilt at National competition in the Modified category, where they were placed 16th of 40 competitors during their debut 2003/04 season.

After securing a finals berth in the recent warm-up Event in Sydney both girls are looking forward to putting it all together on New Year's Day, where vital Championship points will be up for grabs during the iTEL Community Telco Drag Racing Nationals at Ipswich's Willowbank Raceway.

"Having contested all five rounds of last year's Championship we know how much focus and commitment is required to win the overall title," said driver Kate.

"It was exciting for us to be able to step up into the Modified category after cutting our teeth in street cars following a successful stint in Junior Dragster.

"Diana has regular weekend work commitments as a wedding photographer so we decided I'd be better placed to drive in the Series, but this is still a huge team effort.

"Our older brother Scott also works as part of the crew along with Dad, plus Mum's always there to support us.

"It's a real family affair and that's very typical in the sport, plus we've also got a couple of close friends who help out."

It's fair to say the Harker sisters are destined to make an indelible mark in the sport, following in the footsteps of their drag racing father Steve who still regularly competes in the World's toughest drag racing arena, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Series in North America.

To date Steve is the only Australian drag racer to have secured a lucrative NHRA winner's trophy in the Top Alcohol Funny Car category.

His list of achievements includes three winner's trophies, two runners-up placings plus an Event where he collected a bonus as top qualifier. Nationally, Steve has climbed as high as 15th in a field of 60 top-line drag racers and finished 5th in divisional competition.

But rather than have his daughter's served up an easy ride into the open ranks, the supportive father has instilled a professional work ethic that is bound to hold his girls well throughout their careers.

"We've both been racing since we were 13 and once we'd moved out of the junior ranks Dad said that if we wanted to go any further in the sport we'd have to pull it all together ourselves.

"We developed sponsorship proposals so we could build a dragster and to be finally out there racing is a great feeling.

"Our parents have been great supporter's and they know how serious and competitive we are about our racing.

"To have someone like that to offer advice and a helping hand is a huge plus.

Coming off a finals appearance in Sydney the Harkers are brimming with confidence and can't wait to get back to their home track at Willowbank for iTEL Nationals competition on January 1, 2005.

The bonus of competing in familiar surrounds and perhaps securing their first Gold Christmas Tree would signal the ideal start to the New Year as each sets their own separate paths in the professional ranks of the sport.

"There are no major changes to the car since last season but with more experience and a full year of competition under our belt we should run more consistently.

"We learnt a lot last year and are getting stronger so it'd be great to put in a good showing at the iTEL Nationals in front of a home crowd.

"I'm definitely looking to go further in drag racing and once I've finished my Bachelor of Commerce studies next year will look to step into the Supercharged Outlaws ranks with a blown engine.

"I think within 3-5 years is a realistic goal to maybe get into Top Alcohol competition and ultimately I'd like to also compete in the States.

"Diana is moving towards bike competition so that will be something different and I know she'll be more than competitive.

"But Dad is keeping us both pretty tamed and he still has a few years left in his own driving career so that's the major focus for the family."

Both Kate and Diana virtually have the sport of drag racing to thank for their very existence after Steve met their mother Jenelle at the old Surfers Paradise strip on the Gold Coast many years ago.

That's ensured the perfect bloodlines for competition at the most elite levels in the sport, but while the girls continue their racing development Queensland fans have the opportunity to witness their unique skills during the iTEL Nationals this New Year's Day.

The originally scheduled November 5-7 iTEL Nationals program was switched to January 1 following inclement weather conditions forcing the abandonment of all racing.

The 39th iTEL Nationals enjoys the continued support of the Queensland Government through Queensland Events.

-www.willowbank-raceway.com.au

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