AUS: Willowbank tribute to David Stokoe

Determined Drag Racer Makes His Final Stand at Willowbank Winternationals Queensland's Willowbank Raceway and the entire drag racing community have paid tribute to a special individual who has typified the unique human qualities that personify...

Determined Drag Racer Makes His Final Stand at Willowbank Winternationals

Queensland's Willowbank Raceway and the entire drag racing community have paid tribute to a special individual who has typified the unique human qualities that personify the sport.

The life-long dream of 37 year-old Gold Coast drag racer David Stokoe was fulfilled last weekend during the Willowbank Winternationals, just two days before the terminally ill cancer patient succumbed to the illness that he has battled the past 18 weeks.

His story is one of sheer determination and triumph over insurmountable odds, as much as it is testament to the comradery and human spirit shown among his many drag racing peers.

Willowbank Raceway General Manager Harry Rowsell could not speak highly enough of a man who was able to turn his back on the cruel hand fate had dealt him, to secure one final moment of defining glory during Australian drag racings showpiece event.

"David was well known and well liked among drag racers right across the country and he made no secret of his desire to clock an eight second quarter mile pass competing in the highly competitive Super Sedan bracket," said Rowsell.

"Sheer will power and a passion to succeed ensured not only his entry into the Willowbank Winternationals, but also a highly commendable 8.98 second pass last Sunday to add the final chapter to a truly remarkable life story."

When diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year, Stokoe resigned his position as a push bike mechanic which appeared to have put an end to his thoughts of securing a personal loan to rebuild his Mach 1 Escort.

His dream machine that would finally be powered by a 378 Stroker Cleveland engine laid scattered in a million pieces in the back shed.

Willed by love for their son and the most heart-wrenching predicament, Stokoe's parents helped fund David's last hurrah in a sport he had been involved in for the past eight years.

Close friend and crew member, Mark Bourke acknowledges the mountain of support David received in his quest from all factions of the drag racing fraternity.

"Thanks to the support and encouragement of his family and friends, David was able to achieve his first goal of competing in the opening event at the new Western Sydney International Dragway earlier this year," said Bourke.

"At that stage we were pulling low to mid nine second passes but unfortunately the engine heads cracked and it looked as if that would be the end of the road.

"However Brisbane based company Toca Performance, who did the bulk of the motor assembling, chipped in to replace the cylinder head that guaranteed David's entry into the Winternationals, despite originally being given just 12 weeks to live by doctors.

"David always attacked things at 110% and was competing strongly at the Winternationals until he ran into gear box problems.

"Although he was visibly in pain he wanted to get under the car and fix it himself but a couple of us got together and made sure everything was in working order.

"He managed his eight second pass on the final day of the event.

"You couldn't ask for a better sport to be involved in with so many regulars at Willowbank Raceway happy to help out with advice and parts so David could achieve his final wish."

Rowsell too has witnessed this type of gamesmanship time and time again during his long association in drag racing and this more recent performance adds an even brighter glow to a pursuit that is gradually making its mark in the mainstream of Australian sport.

"It never ceases to amaze me the strength of the human spirit.

"The legacy that David Stokoe has left is one which will be forever remembered at Willowbank Raceway and by the many friends David had acquired through the sport of drag racing."

David Stokoe secured his eight second pass on Sunday before being admitted to hospital Tuesday night and passing away early Wednesday morning.

Davids funeral will be held at 10.30am this Monday morning at the Mudgeeraba Presbyterian Church on Mudgeeraba Road.

-www.willowbank-raceway.com.au

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