KEELY BOWN

PORT PIRIE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

STORY GLENN TORRENS PHOTOS SIMON DAVIDSON

KEELY Bown has her dad Nick to thank (or blame!) for her motorsport passion. Since she was just 10 years of age, the young South Australian has been raising dust with the Port Pirie Dirt Circuit Association, and for the past four years she has participated at the DLRA Speed Week at Lake Gairdner in a distinctive black Subaru WRX. Now in her late teens and out of school, she has her sights set on a career as a motor mechanic.

Cars and girls: not seen together as much as weíd like! How did you get into this?

Dad is the one who got me into cars. Heís been involved in drag racing and burnouts, so Iíve grown up around them. Iíve wanted to drive ever since I could touch the pedals. I was riding a motorbike at three. Iíve been involved in motorsport, racing dirt circuit, since I was 10. I was a real go-getter! Of course, I still love it now and Iím club champion! My dirt car is a Subaru wagon with a 6.0-litre LS2 in it, and itís still allwheel drive. My daily is a VE ute.

IíVE WANTED TO DRIVE EVER SINCE I COULD TOUCH THE PEDALS. I WAS RIDING A MOTORBIKE AT THREE, AND IíVE BEEN INVOLVED IN MOTORSPORT SINCE I WAS 10

How did salt-lake racing come about?

Once again, it was Dadís influence. Heís run there in the past. He started off in a Monaro in the early days of the event [Speed Week has been going for 29 years] and then he had a VL Commodore.

So why arenít you out on the salt in a red-blooded, lion-hearted Holden, Keely?

Because race a Subaru! love my little Subaru! For the salt, Dad thought it would be sensible to start with something small and stick with what I know. Plus, my older sister Rochelle used to run this car out here for a couple of years. Back then it was stock mechanically and did 130mph.

Tell us about the Subaru. Whatís in it now?

It has forged internals and H-beams, balanced, all the usual tough stuff. It has a bigger turbo and E85 injectors and an EMS computer. It has 260kW at all fours now, but the turbo is maxed out.

How did you go this year?

The gearbox seized! But before that I did a parachute pass as I thought we were heading over 175mph [all cars over 175mph must have a parachute and drivers must demonstrate its use] and we were hoping for a record because we added 100hp for this year. But it died against the overboost cut. With a gearbox change for this year it was over-geared even before the íbox crumbled. Dadís just bought a six-speeder, so weíre in the process of changing that, plus a bigger turbo Ė again Ė and injectors. My dadís mate Graeme Horner [a past Drag Challenge participant] helps with the tune of the dirt car and the salt for car. Weíre aiming 300kW at the wheels and 180mph for next year!