Barbeler's title tilt undone by faulty rack
NATHAN Barbeler's debut in the National Street Stock finals A-Main did not go according to plan.
After a successful opening day of the competition had the Kingaroy driver sitting pretty in eighth position, entry into the A-Main was all but sewn up.
Cruising through his final heat early on Sunday, Barbeler was placed in the middle of the field for the 40-lap final.
It was always going to be difficult to make a move from midfield, especially with the calibre of drivers ahead of him, but the task became near-insurmountable after just one lap.
"We broke a rack in the first lap which made the car really difficult to steer,” Barbeler said.
"I managed to fight the steering and keep going for another 20 or so laps, but I had to pull in on lap 23.”
Prior to the race Barbeler said he would be happy just to make the A-Main final, but after the strong showing in qualifying he admitted to feeling short-changed.
"It is disappointing, not being able to finish,” Barbeler said.
"But my original goal was just to make the A-Main, so I'm really happy with that.
"I qualified 12th in Australia so that's something to be proud of right there. It was just car failures that let us down in the feature.”
If the earlier heats were anything to go by, the feature race was likely to serve up an unpredictable result.
With that in mind, Barbeler's strategy was a simple one.
"My first aim was just to stay out of trouble and wait for heaps of cars to drop out, which they did, but unfortunately I was one of them,” Barbeler said.
"In the last 20 (laps) it was pretty much anyone's race, I think only 10 or 11 finished.”
South Australian Anthony Beare looked likely to make it back-to-back national title crowns before his own breakdown came just three laps from the finish, and Barbeler felt his pain.
"It was unbelievable, I thought he had it in the bag,” Barbeler said.
"It's pretty devastating for him just three laps from home after leading the whole race. You'd be heartbroken.”
Nathan's parents Michelle and David also competed at the weekend.
"They made it into the C-Main and then just chose not to go out to focus on getting my car ready,” Barbeler said.
Despite the disappointing result, Barbeler agreed it gave him confidence ahead of next year's titles knowing he has what it takes to match it with the best in the country.
"That's true, it was a great learning experience,” Barbeler said.
"The next Australian titles are down south, and I think we'll be heading to that,” he said.
But before then, the Barbeler family is back in action next weekend, travelling to Gympie for the Queensland titles.
"We'll fix the car up and hopefully the problem doesn't happen again,” Barbeler said.
"We've raced there before and the car goes alright, so we'll be giving them grief.”