National title holder relishes return to the fast lane
MOTOR SPORT: After 30 years out of racing, newly-crowned Australian stock car champion Mike Foley says he's caught the bug again.
The 55-year-old got back in the hot seat last year and has quickly reached top gear.
He's charged to the top of the state series and last weekend captured the national crown at Gatton.
"The car's a good thing and I'm a match for it. We jell well," he said.
The Maroochydore local, who is a renowned boxing trainer, beat Jason Martin and Shane French for the title.
Foley was a regular competitor in New Zealand many years ago, when he had four cars.
After a three-decade absence, he said he felt obliged to return to the sport.
"I've always thought I had unfinished business and I happened to be driving in Brisbane and I saw a similar car to (one) in New Zealand," he said.
Although it wasn't exactly the type of machine he would want to race now, it triggered him into action.
"And I thought if I'm getting back into it I'll buy something half decent and see how it goes. I've enjoyed it and guess what?
"I've got the bug again, much to my wife's disgust."
He bought his current car, which had the same number (13) as the first car he ever raced.
"I knew it was meant to be," he said.
Foley's taken the domestic circuit by storm.
But in racing for the national title he did have to overcome one hiccup.
"We blew an alternator, which seized the belt and a gentleman from the crowd (Mark Smith) gave us one out of his car," Foley said.
"He said 'just take it out of my ute'."
Queensland Stock Car Club president Jeremy Hemi said Foley had returned to the sport in style.
"He's come back in top form," he said.
"It's his first season in the Queensland stock car and he's been straight to the pointy end of the field with many feature wins, many race wins and now the Australian title.
"He's got a fantastic attitude on and off the track and he represents his car really well. It's an attractive car to look at from the crowd's perspective.
"He's an all-round great competitor."