March 20, 2020
The 2020 Road to Bathurst program is underway, with this year’s participants completing some valuable laps in the first two rounds of the Pheasant Wood Cheap Car Challenge.
After Round 2 of the Cheap Car Challenge on the weekend, we caught up with Ryan Gilroy and Travis Worton, who have chosen the Road to Bathurst pathway to make their progression from karts to car racing.
18-year-old Ryan Gilroy, who hails from the NSW regional town of Singleton, is a highly-motivated young driver who also runs his own car detailing business. Gilroy comes from a successful karting background.
So you’ve completed a couple of Cheap Car Challenge rounds, how did you find them?
It was really good to get behind the wheel of a race car, and learn the spatial awareness that you don’t get in go-karts.
I got to grips with the cars quickly – I ended up driving both the Nissan Pulsar and the NX Coupe in the first round, so I did a lot of laps!
The Pulsar was running in the outright class and had a lot more grip; the NX had slower tyres on it to make sure we didn’t break out of the Group 2 lap time, so I had to adapt to the lower grip levels; it was a really good learning experience.
How much kart racing have you done?
I didn’t start karting until I was 15, so I was a pretty late starter. I moved into a higher-profile team and was getting some strong results, but I decided I wanted to pursue the car racing dream so here I am with Phil (Alexander) and the RaceAway Track Time crew.
What made you decide to become involved in the Road to Bathurst program?
I contacted Phil, because he had a car for lease, and he told me about the program. I did a test day at Wakefield, loved it and decided to commit to the full program, because it will give me everything I need to prepare for driving at Bathurst.
I’m really looking forward to driving at Bathurst – looking forward, I’m really hoping to do some more racing in production-type cars, and further down the line I’d love to race a Sports Sedan or Supercar.
Also 18 years old, Travis Worton is currently studying commerce and IT at university. Like Gilroy, Worton has had vast experience competing in karts, and is using the Road to Bathurst program as a stepping-stone to tin tops.
What sort of experience have you had in karting?
I’ve raced in a few different categories, including K4 Juniors, where I came fourth in the championship in 2016. After that I stepped up to K2, J-Max and KZ.
I had the chance to race at some big events, against some quite high-profile drivers including (Super2 competitor) Broc Feeney and (Porsche Carrera Cup round winner) Cooper Murray.
How have you found the Cheap Car Challenge events? What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from them?
I’ve really enjoyed the Cheap Car Challenge events so far. In the first round, I was in the Nissan NX Coupe and we managed to win our class and finish seventh outright, and then in Round 2 I drove the Pulsar and we came fifth overall.
I’ve got faster throughout both weekends, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is the spatial awareness of being in an enclosed car, and judging distances between other cars when I’m racing in traffic.
What are you most enjoying about the Road to Bathurst program so far?
I knew Phil Alexander from karting, and his guidance has been really good – he’s teaching me a lot about car positioning on the track, and car control.
I can’t wait to drive at Bathurst later in the year, and I’m hoping the Road to Bathurst program will give me the driver development and exposure I need to move into a high-level national category like Supercars or TCR.