Having recently drawn to a close, the 2017-18 season has been the best yet for Keke Falland since joining the 410 Sprintcars class, with him continuing to make gains as the season progressed.
The 30-year-old racer’s persistence and determination throughout the season ultimately saw him improve with each race meeting, a fact which is reflected in his final season results, placing inside the top three in the overall South Australian point standings and amongst the top five in the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship South Australia.
Despite getting off to a rather slow start, Falland began to experience pleasing results during the Christmas-New Year period throughout World Series Sprintcar Speedweek, showing consistently pleasing pace in time trials and timing amongst the top-10 in each round, including a second and third, to set each of his nights up in positive fashion.
Travelling to Murray Bridge Speedway in early January for the USA vs Aus International Sprintcars event, Falland was in fine form from the outset, scoring quick time in his time trials group, winning his opening heat race and going on to start the feature race from the outside of the second row, before coming home in eighth place.
Carrying some added confidence into the Grand Annual Classic at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway in the south-west of Victoria, Falland once again performed strongly in qualifying time trials, picking up a season highlight by timing third fastest in flight two.
From there, Falland’s Grand Annual Classic campaign unfortunately took a turn for the worse when he was hit by another car in the preliminary feature race while running strongly in sixth, bringing his opening night to a premature end. Returning to the track for the final night of competition, Falland was looking likely to score a transfer spot into the feature race during the B main, but his chances came to a crashing halt when he hit a rut and clipped the tyre barrier with five laps to go.
Hoping to make amends during the Australian Title at Mount Gambier’s Borderline Speedway just a few days later, the Loxton, South Australia resident enjoyed an encouraging run during the opening night of competition, coming home 10th in the preliminary feature race.
Being forced to qualify for the feature race via the B main on night two, Falland was on the cusp of achieving a transfer, having been battling for fourth position for most of the race; however, a last lap, last corner pass saw him greet the chequered flag in sixth, becoming the second reserve for the Australian Title-deciding feature race.
While Falland wasn’t quite able to achieve the results that he was hoping for at the Grand Annual Classic and Australian Title, his confidence was boosted by his ability to qualify well and he set his decided to set his focus on making the right choices when it came to setup for the feature races.
Putting this focus into practice at the Ross Wright Memorial at Murray Bridge Speedway in March, Falland qualified seventh for the feature race but was held up at the drop of the green flag, immediately dropping back to 11th place.
Knowing that he had a strong car underneath him, Falland managed to find the rubber on the track, pushing as hard as he could to pass his rivals one at a time, impressively working his way up to the runner-up spot and having to nurse his car home for the final 12 laps due to getting the most he possibly could out of his tyres. This was Falland’s strongest feature-race result of the season.
“We were fairly strong in time trials and our heat races throughout the season, but we were just struggling to convert that pace in the feature races previously,” commented the driver of the SA # 78 Shadetec supported Cool car.
“We just needed to focus on getting the car where it needed to be for the feature races, which really paid off in our last couple of race meetings. Overall, it’s been a strong season for us and we’re looking forward to improving even further next season.”
While his 410 Sprintcar commitments have now come to an end for this season, Falland will be competing in the All Power Nationals event for Speedway Karts on May 19 at Mildura’s Olympic Park Speedway in Victoria. Falland was the inaugural winner of the event and this season marks its 10-year anniversary.
Prior to focusing on 410 Sprintcars, Falland speedway journey has seen him, from a young age, dabble in a range of go karts, such as Dirt Karts (a past Australian Title holder), Go Karts on the tar and Speedway Karts, before stepping into Wingless Sprints for two seasons. From there, he made the move to 360 Sprintcars, where he spent three seasons, placing second in the All Stars Series point standings and second in the South Australian Title during his first season, eventually joining 410 Sprintcars in the 2014-15 season.
Falland would like to thank the following 2017-18 season sponsors for their support: Shadetec, Ronco Motors, New Holland Agriculture, Steven Falland Electrical, River Graphics, Cool Chassis, Loxton Pizza Bar, Ken’s Exhaust, Castrol, Ruston Engineering, Hampel Farms, Charlie and Roger, and Riverland Ford. Special thanks go to mum and dad, Julie and Steven, his wife Lauren and their son Austin, crew members Tyson, Tony Gould, Wayne Vickers, Hayden, Declan Morrison, Harrison Gifford and Shane Gifford.
To find out more about Falland and his team, LIKE them on Facebook by searching Keke Falland Motorsport.