Back from rock bottom 

A SEASON that began with the death of a racing colleague ended with a championship win.

Michael Lockart on Sunday capped his maiden Australian Formula Xtreme campaign by securing the C Grade championship at Eastern Creek.

The 17-year-old’s superstock season almost ended the day it began.

In February, Lockart was involved in a Phillip Island accident that claimed the life of promising Queensland rider Oscar McIntyre. He was admitted to hospital with a broken wrist.

The Goulburn Battery Factory auto electrical apprentice left the iconic racing circuit without a bike – his Kawasaki ZX6 exploded on impact – and mental scarring.

Instead of opting out of the season, Lockart rode on.

His courage was rewarded with a championship win and its respective prize: a Yamaha Y2450 valued at $12,000.

While Lockart’s desire has waivered little, his parents and chief race day support staff remain shaken by the accident.

“I find it far harder to relax when he’s racing,” his mother Tricia said.

“I’m terrorised by what happened. That fatality rammed down my throat just how dangerous it can be.”

Tricia opts against watching her son’s races in detail. Instead she buries in herself in support crew duties.

“He was pretty determined to keep racing [after the accident],” she said.

“He knew it was just a bad accident. I’m really impressed with the way he’s kept his head and applied himself.”

Climbing up the Formula Xtreme rankings required more than regular training and error-free races. The Lockarts needed a new bike.

In April, the family conducted a fundraiser in the form a 230km motorcycle trip around the district with stops at Tarago, Gundaroo, Gunning and Bungonia.

The event raised $5000, money which helped Lockart back onto the racing circuit.

In the ensuing months he built a sizeable lead in the Formula Xtreme C grade class, a category comprising the sport’s younger competitors.

Lockart’s championship hopes took a dive with misfortune at Wakefield Park in September.

A mechanical issue with the bike ruined his Wakefield campaign and invited second placed Michael Blair back into contention.

“I was shattered,” Lockart wrote in his race report.

“After investigations, it turned out that a cable earthed and blew out a fuse.”

Despite the setback, Lockart did enough in the final rounds at Winton and Eastern Creek to deny Blair first place.

“From starting on such a low, he’s finished on such a high,” Tricia said.

“He’s been strong enough to put the accident behind him… The support he gets locally makes this possible.”

Victory in the C grade class and third place in the Formula Xtremes overall ended with a promotion. Lockart next February joins the Supersport class.

In the meantime, he’s sharpening skills in preparation at an AIS elite athlete camp.

 TURNING THE CORNER: Michael Lockart negotiates a bend at Eastern Creek. Photo: Keith Muir.

TURNING THE CORNER: Michael Lockart negotiates a bend at Eastern Creek. Photo: Keith Muir.


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